FORMER Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) director Efthymios Malekides told the court on Wednesday that he never blackmailed project contractors for money, and denied that charges against him were dropped following a plea bargain he made with the Legal Service.
From the stand as a prosecution witness, Malekides said during cross-examination that not only was he not treated favourably, but he paid back more money than he ever received in kickbacks.
After his confession, he added, he was not interested in money, but only to close the case and redeem himself.
He told the court that he wished his own predicament on no one.
One defence lawyer suggested that Malekides had lied in his statement to the police, in which he said that he “never blackmailed any contractors”, but instead was being “threatened, directly or indirectly, by [contractor] Loizos Iordanous” that he would go to jail if he did not cave.
But the defence insisted that the witness was lying, and that, in fact, he was the one blackmailing the contractors.
“Your statement was a fairy tale,” Malekides was told.
Malekides stood firm in his position and repeated that he never blackmailed anyone.
But former Paphos mayor and sitting MP Fidias Sarikas’ lawyer, Chris Triantafyllides, also accused Malekides of being a liar, arguing that he initially professed his innocence, before confessing, and wondered at which point he was telling the truth.
“I’m sorry that you hurl insults in a courtroom,” Malekides replied.
“I am here to give the facts, not respond to your syllogisms.”
Triantafyllides then claimed that Malekides had threatened Sarikas that he would take him down with him if he even got in trouble.
The witness repeated that he never blackmailed anyone.
The defence lawyer referred to a 2011 court case, in which Malekides testified as a witness, suggesting that he had perjured himself to serve “certain expediencies”, and that lying came naturally to him.
But Malekides countered that, although the court’s ruling found his testimony “not material” to the case, it did not suggest that he had told any lies.
In addition to Malekides, accused in the ongoing trial are former municipal councillors Giorgos Michaelides with DISY, Efstathios Efstathiou with DIKO, Vasos Vassiliou with AKEL, and sitting councillor Giorgos Shailis, also with AKEL.