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AG drops private criminal prosecution against Phedonos

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos has accused parliament of cheap populism ahead of January’s presidential election

The attorney-general has decided to suspend a private criminal prosecution brought against Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos, having found no evidence of wrongdoing on the mayor’s part.

The private criminal case was initiated by Andreas Demetriades, former legal advisor to Paphos municipality, who accused Phedonos of providing authorities with false information during the course of two depositions the mayor gave police earlier this year.

In his depositions, Phedonos implicated Demetriades in the Marathounda waste management facility affair, a case which has since been filed with Nicosia criminal court.

The case involves bribes made by Helector – the outfit operating the Marathounda facility – to local officials.

Subsequent to Phedonos’ revelations and his first deposition on March 1 this year, police made the first arrests in the case.

The mayor had named Demetriades as being part of a criminal conspiracy – along with Demetris Patsalides, former financial director of Paphos municipality, and former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas – to defraud the public.

During the course of investigations authorities discovered that the company Helector was overcharging the municipality while certain officials looked the other way in exchange for skimming off the top.

Subsequently police uncovered a similar scam with the landfill site at Koshi, Larnaca, a contract also awarded to the same company, Helector.

So far 12 persons have been indicted on bribery and corruption charges, including Savvas Vergas – already serving a jail sentence for another corruption case – and sitting Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis.

Patsalides himself faces charges of accepting €250,000 in bribes from Helector. Demetriades has not been indicted.

Demetriades, who happens to be the father of current transport minister Marios Demetriades, was legal advisor of Paphos municipality for 30 years, and also acted as legal advisor for the Paphos waste management board for 13 years.

Demetriades is also related to Patsalides.

On May 6, Demetriades filed a complaint to the police alleging that Phedonos lied about him in his deposition, attributing to Phedonos a criminal offence – knowingly and deliberately providing false information to authorities.

In June, the attorney-general’s office, having reviewed the complaint, dismissed it.

Later, in early September, Demetriades filed a private criminal case against Phedonos, again on the same grounds.

But drawing on his earlier findings, the attorney-general decided that this case, too, had no merit and has moved to suspend the prosecution.

A hearing will take place on Friday at Paphos district court, where the public prosecutor will make a motion to have the prosecution suspended.

Under the constitution, the attorney-general has the right to suspend private criminal prosecutions brought by private citizens.

 



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