Despite 12 people being indicted in the Marathounda and Koshi waste management scandal, authorities have yet to ensnare the ‘big fish’, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos claimed on Thursday.
Among these, Phedonos told the Sigma channel’s evening news bulletin, is a person who back in 2003 held the position of a senior state official in the Cypriot government.
Sometime that same year, the mayor revealed, the person flew to Athens, where he held a meeting which was instrumental in shaping the scam involving the awarding of the waste management contracts to Helector and the subsequent overcharging by the company.
Helector is a Greek company, part of Ellaktor SA, a multinational Greek construction group.
Phedonos stopped short of naming the person, except to say that he is a well-known lawyer in Cyprus.
Asked by Sigma whether the person was a government minister at the time, Phedonos said only: “Something like that.”
Contacted by the Cyprus Mail late on Thursday, the mayor declined to be drawn on whether the person he was referring to was a member of the Glafcos Clerides government or the administration of Tassos Papadopoulos.
But he would be revealing the name to the media at a later date, he added.
Phedonos told Sigma he has mentioned the name to police, but that they have decided not to pursue that avenue for the time being.
The mayor, who played a part in unravelling the affair, claims that as much as €3 million may have been given as bribes to officials to go along with the overcharging scheme. The police estimate of the backhanders, so far, is just over €1 million.
These monies could potentially be recouped should the criminal trial, set to begin next month, find the accused guilty.
In addition, Phedonos estimates that Helector – the contractor embroiled in the affair – may have raked in as much as €38 million in ‘super-profits’. This money ought to be reclaimed in civil lawsuits filed by the affected municipalities, he asserted.