Eleven investments by the employees’ pension fund of the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) from 2009 to 2013 have made a total loss of over €170 million, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said in his 2015 report for the semi-state, which was unveiled on Tuesday.
Speaking after a session of the House Watchdog committee, chairman Zacharias Koulias said these constitute a case of “proper looting” and have been sent to the attorney-general’s office, and requested that they be also sent to the committee.
“I hope that the Legal Service will at least hire criminal investigators to look into these crimes,” he said.
Koulias added that CyTA is a “productive organisation that belongs to the Cypriot people”, and that it should remain property of the state.
“It is unthinkable to give profit-making organisations to private interests,” he said.
DISY MP Annita Demetriou said that, among others, “€29.5 million has been invested in a project that is essentially derelict”, and wondered what exactly can be done with the Dromolaxia investment.
AKEL MP Irene Charalambidou said that the irony is that, on the one hand, the government wants to privatise the semi-state telecoms company, while on the other, it offers ample political cover when CyTA awards contracts to specific businessmen.
“It is proven once more that CyTA is a profit-making organisation, as it recorded €20 million in profit in the first quarter of 2016 alone,” she said.
DIKO MP Giorgos Prokopiou said that the discussion revealed that Lebanon’s Telecommunications ministry owes CyTA more than €11 million over the installation of a sub-sea cable system, and the telecoms company is looking into ways of recouping the sum.
The Citizens Alliance’s Pavlos Mylonas said that his party’s view is that the unproductive practice of partisan appointments to the boards of semi-state organisations must come to an end.
“Corruption, graft, and scandals abound in the auditor-general’s report, this being a result of partisan appointments to semi-states,” he said, adding that it needs to stop.