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Cyprus

AG asked to investigate possible wrongdoing over squalid housing

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos has asked the attorney-general to investigate the possibility of criminal offences in connection with the acquisition of problematic apartment buildings by the Land Development Organisation (KOAG).

It followed an auditor-general’s report that spoke of shoddy workmanship and other irregularities, including overcharging.

KOAG was created by the state in 1980 with the aim of helping low income families acquire homes.

The case in question concerns an apartment complex at the village of Asomatos in Limassol, acquired by KOAG in 2011-2012, as part of its policy at the time to buy ready projects.

A few years later and residents who can are trying to leave the place, while others appealed to the government for help.

Footage from private Sigma television showed walls full of damp, mould, waste overflowing in the toilets, and tiles falling apart.

Resident Antonis Antoniou told Sigma that they were forced to live in “squalid conditions” and that children were ill all the time. He said that many residents had already left and others were trying.

The case was investigated by the auditor-general who found a series of irregularities on top of the fact that the structure was falling apart.

lim_asomatos-a

According to the report, the contractor was not even licensed on the date he had submitted his bid, which also exceeded the cost set by the organisation.

The bid was €1,250 per square metre, around 29 per cent higher than the estimated cost.

There was also inadequate supervision, no geological study, and the contractor had disengaged from the project despite the problems.

It appears that the septic tanks cannot absorb the waste adequately because of the area’s geology.

KOAG has resolved some problems but the waste issue can only be solved permanently by constructing a sewerage system in the area.

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