Cyprus Mail

Security for state officials should be based on risk, not rights, audit office says

Photo: CNA

Providing state officials with a security detail should be based on risk assessment and not be treated as a right since there is no law defining it as such, said an auditor-general report that was published on Friday.

The report followed a probe after Disy MP Giorgos Georgiou filed a complaint in relation to the driver’s allowance granted to the Green Party.

The auditor said there would not be any objection if the security of state officials was outsourced if that would be to the interest of the state.

The issue was first raised by daily Alithia – owned by Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos – which reported that Green Party leader Giorgos Perdikis has been receiving a monthly driver’s allowance since 2005 without actually having one.

This, the daily said, came about “after Perdikis stubbornly refused to accept police protection and in return he had claimed from the then government – and won – this allowance, which in 2005 was CY£1,000 (around €1,700)”.

According to the auditor’s report, permission had been granted to state officials to hire a driver from the private sector or employ the driver they had after their retirement.

However, the auditor said, the finance ministry’s position was not based on any law.

The approved sum for a driver was €1,200 per month minus a 15 per cent reduction as part of austerity measures introduced in 2013.

By cabinet decision, the Green Party was granted a driver allowance instead of a police guard to its chairman, the auditor said.

From May 1, 2005 to February 28, 2017 the state has paid the Green Party €160,000 as a driver allowance.

The audit service examined the party’s accounts for 2012, 2013, and 2014, and found an employment contract for the position of leader’s driver and officer of the Nicosia district office with a monthly salary of €1,202.

It was also found that the party paid the female employee’s social insurance.

The party welcomed the report, which “did not adopt Disy’s view that the allowance was unlawfully granted.”

“The report clearly shows there was nothing illegal or irregular in the Green Party’s case,” the party said in a statement, adding that it uncovered the slanderers and mudslingers.

“The political intimidation tactic won’t pass. The Green Party will always fight maladministration and corruption.”

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