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Cyprus

Possible expansion to party appointment probe

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Wednesday there had been no final decision on the matter and that it was just a scenario tabled for consultation.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades asked the attorney-general on Monday to say whether the law mandated a disciplinary procedure against public servants who also held a party position at the same time.

The minister was referring to the recent controversy over Savia Orphanidou – a finance ministry employee and a member of the Disy political bureau – on how she came to be selected for appointment to the European Investment Bank. She may also have been violating the law by holding posts in a political party and the public service, without the legally required permission of the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Georgiades said he was prepared to review his decision not to conduct a disciplinary probe, noting that in such an event there must be an effort to locate all the public servants who held a party position between 1991 and 2015, before the law was passed to allow it.

Georgiades said that it appeared throughout the said period that “the improper possession of positions in political parties by civil servants was known to the authorities and was tolerated.”

“A large number of civil servants, including the staffer in question, improperly held a position beyond that of an ordinary party member between 1991 and 2015,” the minister said.

His letter to the AG was accompanied by a list of 39 similar cases in the central government and wider civil service – 32 belonged to Diko, four to Akel, two were Disy, two Edek, and one from Elam, its chairman Christos Christou.

The cases in question had not been investigated, the minister said, but it appeared that it included people whose party activity was especially prominent.

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