Cyprus Mail
Opinion

Tales from the Coffeeshop: state watchdog expands his remit to include a patriotic audit

Officials from the audit services trying to enter the offices of Thoc on Friday

THERE is no doubt that our establishment’s sometime hero Odysseas Michaelides has let his power go to his head and is increasingly displaying the traits of a petty tyrant that expects everyone to bow before his almightiness.

As a result of his intoxication with power he has public-spiritedly expanded the responsibilities of the auditor-general to include patriotic audits of ministries and SGOs. And he appears to be pursuing his new duties with the power-crazed zeal of a secret police chief in a police-state that cannot tolerate the mildest form of dissent.

We saw this crazy side of Odysseas in the last week when he decided to do a random audit of Thoc which had committed the unpatriotic act of staging an ancient Greek tragedy at Salamis in the occupied area. In order to maintain the pretence that his patriotic audit was not politically motivated but entirely within his powers, he asked to see the expenses relating to all the Antigone performances, most of which were staged in the south.

What was he hoping to find out from the expenses documents, which Thoc obdurately refused to hand over, citing legal reasons and EU directives, too boring to repeat.? That a pseudo company had been hired for the stage lighting without Thoc inviting tenders, or that some of the ushers employed for the performance were Turkish settlers, working illegally?

Or perhaps he wanted to accurately measure by how many euros the pseudo-state had been upgraded by hosting the performance.

 

INITIALLY, Thoc chairman Yiannis Toumazis proved a tough cookie, refusing to yield to Odysseas’ public intimidation and claims that the organisation was violating the law by not obeying his commands. Toumazis had sent the letter refusing to give Odysseas the info he had demanded and telling him to go to hell albeit in boring legal language.

Even on Friday when the almighty Odysseas carried out his threat to send three of his flunkeys to Thoc to demand the handing over of the expense document, they left empty-handed. By the end of the day it seemed Toumazis had backed down somewhat, agreeing to meet with officials on Monday and cooperate, but in the meantime he had also written to the attorney-general, arguing that the auditor-general had overstepped his powers.

The AG would be doing everyone a favour if he clipped Odysseas’ wings by informing him that patriotic audits were not in his job description and the he should stick to chasing the crooks robbing from the state rather than those involved in bicommunal projects.

 

THIS WAS not the first patriotic audit Odysseas had undertaken. In August he carried out an investigation into the trip to Trabzon in Turkey by a group of gymnasium students, who were participating in an international sports event and were accompanied by teachers.

Again there was an outcry by super-patriots against this outrage – the kids had flown to Trabzon via Athens but had used the Turkish airline Pegasus which flies to the pseudo-airport in Tymbou. Odysseas immediately undertook a super-patriotic audit of the flights and fares paid. His most damning finding was that the kids had been issued tickets with ‘Istanbul’ written on them instead of ‘Constantinopolis’.

In the case of Antigone he went a step further. He put aside his role as an independent state official and acted like Ethnarch Junior’s henchman, deciding to investigate the staging of the play on the orders of the Diko chief. He admitted this on the radio, saying he decided to investigate after receiving a letter from a party leader.

Odysseas repeated, in all seriousness and on the radio, the moronic question his new boss asked in his letter – had Thoc been given permission by the antiquities department to stage the play at Salamis? A failure to do so constituted a violation of the procedure of the patriotic theatre being staged every day by Junior.

 

SPEAKING of Junior, I was listening to the CyBC’s extended radio news show on Friday lunch-time when the presenter announced the following news headline: “Severe criticism by Nicolas Papadopoulos of President Anastasiades’ handling of the Cyprus issue.”

Was this news? Nicholas severely criticises prez Nik every single day, often two and three times per day. He does nothing else but criticise Nik’s handling of the Cyprob, so much so that you want to slit your wrists or volunteer to be a suicide bomber every time you hear him.

How does repeating the same tedious crap qualify as news for the CyBC every single day? It would be news if a day passed by and Junior said nothing nasty about Nik’s handling of the Cyprob, or if poison was not dripping from his lips when talking about the prez. That would be worth reporting, but “severe criticism” by Junior is as newsworthy as the discovery that night follows day.

 

RUSSIA INSIDER news website, the English language Putin mouthpiece featured another long report (September 21) about the links of Prez Nik’s law office with Russian oligarch Leonid Lebedev who is currently involved in a legal battle in the US courts concerning hundreds of millions of bucks.

The report, written by Moscow-based journalist John Helmer, who according to Wikipedia had worked for the KGB in the eighties, is at pains to link Nik with the Lebedev case, claiming all sorts of tenuous connections. Helmer says among other things: “Cyprus sources claim there is photographic evidence for Lebedev’s recent contacts with Anastasiades. This is uncorroborated…. Anastasiades has not reckoned that an old Russian client like Lebedev would come back to haunt him.”

This is part of Mother Russia’s ways of discrediting Nik, because he is working for a settlement which our mum is against. Helmer’s Cyprob agenda is revealed towards the end of the article where he helpfully wrote: “Cypriot and Greek officials, as well as UN sources, confirm that Anastasiades has been under intense US pressure to strike a deal with Turkey and its occupying forces in northern Cyprus.”

Nik, according to the former KGB spook was being blackmailed by the Yanks. “Cyprus sources believe (assistant Secretary of State Victoria) Nuland has been threatening the Cyprus president with Lebedev’s evidence.”

This was a bit rich coming from a guy who had just written a 6,000-word article, most of which was devoted to trying to prove Nik’s links with Lebedev and implying that the prez was involved in shady dealings. If there was anyone “threatening” Nik with “Lebedev’s evidence” it is Helmer and Putin’s mouthpiece.

 

THE ARTICLE also looked ahead to Nik’s meeting in New York with Vice-President Biden, claiming that Biden would “reiterate Nuland’s message that the US will finance offshore gas projects, new arms for the Cyprus military and land compensation scheme if Anastasiades accepts Turkey’s demands to retain land and property seized by invasion in 1974 and to keep its troops in Cyprus.”

It said nothing about Nik’s meeting in New York with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who made it clear that Moscow was not very keen on a settlement. This was probably the reason there were no statements after the meeting. The fact the Russian government did not send a congratulatory message last weekend, on the occasion of our independence day, could also have been a clear sign of Moscow’s displeasure with Nik.

In 2014 and 2015, when there was no risk of a settlement Putin had sent a congratulatory message to Nik for October 1. Next time Tass news agency or RIK interviews its hero, Ambassador Osadchiy, they could ask him why the president of mother Russia sent no independence day wishes to Kyproulla this year.

 

WE WERE greatly honoured and flattered to receive a mention on Dr Eleni’s Facebook page, after last week’s Coffeeshop had written a few things about her heroic campaign against the staging of Antigone. Her big ego was obviously hurt by what was written and she responded in the way all mega-patriots do when their myths and verbosity are mocked.

She called Patroclos an ‘agent’ which was rather disappointing coming from someone who has published several poetry collections. I would have hoped for a little more originality and imagination, even though her attempt at humour was appreciated.

She wrote: “So little agent (praktorako), the lunatics, Dr Eleni – solidarity warrior and Drama queen, Mr Junior and Dr Sizo will not leave you to make Cyprus Turkish.”

Does she really think a praktorakos who writes a weekly column could ever make Kyproulla Turkish when a fearless drama queen and solidarity warrior like herself is leading the resistance?

Meanwhile Solidarity’s Facebook page posted the whole of last week’s Coffeeshop under the snarky comment – ‘admire the level of journalism’. There were five ‘likes’ below, indicating that Solidarity supporters did not get the sarcasm and did exactly what the party had asked of them – admired the journalism, for which I thank them.

 

DR ELENI, also took exception to an article in Alithia, under the headline “But she also has her good points”, which reported how she had helped a passenger who had been taken ill on flight from Brussels to Larnaca.

The Solidarity spokesman used this as an excuse to issue two announcements, probably on the great leader’s instructions, to remind us of the many good things Dr Eleni has done, of her selflessness (apart from her big ego), virtue and altruism and also to tell off the journalist for his “continuous, miserable, personal attacks”.

She “operated on thousands of people in Cyprus and the world” she “worked voluntarily in war-zones like Nagorno-Karabach, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan…” she worked “in natural disaster zones as in Sri Lanka, Greece, Turkey, but also in zones of great poverty such as the African continent, Central Asia, Mongolia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Haiti…”

She was on the boat ‘Dignity’ that was sunk by the Israelis in 2008, a road was named after her in Bosnia, and she was awarded the highest honorary distinction of the Alexandria Patriarchate for her activities in Africa.

But this was not all. The Solidarity press office also mentioned that Dr Eleni had been “proposed by the ‘Izigul movement’ and the Academy of the Sciences of Central Asia for the Nobel Peace Prize. She did not accept the candidacy.”

All I can say is: admire the level of modesty.

 

A FEW months ago our establishment reported how JCC, the company that deals with all the credit card transactions and is owned by the Bank of Cyprus had hired the daughter of Loizos Hadjicostis, the former president of the bank employees’ union Etyk.

Hadjicostis, a blackmailer and bully that the spineless bank boards always gave in to, led the union for decades and still controls it, even though he has stepped down. His power and influence has not faded. His daughter, recently left JCC and was hired by the human resources department of the B of C. She joins her sister who is also an employee of the dear old B of C.

Yank billionaire Wilbur Ross might be the main shareholder of the B of C, he may have sunk close to half a billion bucks into the bank, but when it comes to staff issues the bank has one big boss – the retired Hadjicostis.

 

I’M pleased that the attempt of that ultra-nationalist posing as a liberal environmentalist, Yiorkos Perdikis, to turn himself into a great national leader by imposing the terms of a Cyprus settlement was defeated in the legislature on Friday by the votes of Disy and Akel.

Perdikis had tried to pass a motion rejecting any form of guarantees or presence of foreign troops and bases as part of a settlement. He had the backing of all the anti-settlement parties of the so-called centre, but their votes were not enough, as the session degenerated into a debate of who was more patriotic and Junior reminded us that prez Nik could not be trusted in the negotiations – he might reach an agreement.

Apparently, he needs to be controlled by the prudent and responsible parties in the House, which would prefer the permanent presence of 40,000 Turkish troops than a settlement that provided for a one or two thousand remaining. And if guarantees are not completely scrapped, as mother Russia helpfully proposed, they would rather have 40,000 Turkish soldiers guaranteeing our future and border with Turkey forever. It is faultless logic.

 

 



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