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Cyprus

Case to answer for Sapa officials

Former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas

The Paphos Criminal Court on Tuesday found that prosecutors had proven their case against five former and current state officials accused of corruption relating to the Paphos sewerage board (Sapa) who must now mount a defence.

“Based on the evidence, there is a case against all the defendants,” the court said. “A prima facie case has been established.”

The defendants in the trial are former mayor – and former MP with socialists Edek – Fidias Sarikas, former Paphos municipal councillors Giorgos Michaelides, Efstathios Efstathiou and Vasos Vasiliou, and sitting councillor Giorgos Shailis. They face charges of receiving bribes from private contractors who won SAPA contracts.

Former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas, and former Sapa director Eftyhios Malekkides have already pleaded guilty in the same case and are currently doing a six year stretch in jail.

The five defendants have the option to take the stand and undergo cross-examination, make a statement from the dock without questions from the prosecution, or remain silent.

Three of the defendants – Michaelides, Efstathiou, and Vasiliou – told the court that they will be taking the stand.

Sarikas’ and Shiailis’ lawyers said they will respond in the next hearing.

The court adjourned for September 21.

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