Cyprus Mail
Crime Cyprus

Former waste-management manager pleads guilty to bribery

Koshi waste management site

A former general manager of Greek-owned waste-management company Helector Cyprus has pleaded guilty to charges of bribing public officials in the ongoing trial of the Paphos and Koshi landfills, it was reported on Monday.

Demetris Giannakopoulos was accused of having bribed former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas in 2009 and 2010 with some €310,000 in exchange for Vergas arranging the payment of unpaid dues by the municipality to the company.

Giannakopoulos was among several Helector senior executives accused of giving backhanders to the jailed former mayor in exchange for preferential treatment in the handling of municipal contracts, In his confession, however, Giannakopoulos disputed the sum of backhanders paid to Vergas.

State prosecutor Ninos Kekkos said Giannakopoulos will now turn prosecution witness.

Last week, Vergas – currently serving a six-year jail term for bribery and corruption over the Paphos Sewerage Board (Sapa) scandal – was handed an added two-year jail term after pleading guilty to receiving bribes over the Paphos landfill contract.

The offences to which Vergas pleaded guilty to were committed between 2009 and 2014.

The Paphos landfill was constructed by a consortium between Greek company Helector and German company Bilfinger Baugesellschaft, completed in July 2005.

Per the terms of the landfill’s operation, the company agreed to serve an annual 36,000 tonnes of waste, with a five-per-cent margin on quantities, for a fixed fee from municipalities.

In fact, the landfill received almost 70,000 tonnes per year, and the company demanded additional fees.

As head of the committee negotiating the contract on behalf of municipalities, Vergas travelled to Athens in 2009 to discuss the matter.

At the meeting, it was agreed that Vergas receive a five per cent cut on the contract’s annual revenues in exchange for arranging payment for the additional fee demands.

Vergas received a total of €766,000 from the consortium, of which he kept €311,240, splitting the rest among others.

Vergas was arrested following revelations by his successor, Phedonas Phedonos, in March last year.

In a statement to the police, he admitted being bribed by the consortium.

In addition to Vergas and Giannakopoulos, 14 others are defendants in the trial, which includes similar goings-on at the Koshi landfill.

They are former Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis, former Sapa director Eftichios Malekkides, civil servants Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos, and Christos Petrou, pensioners Antonis Kourouzides and Georgios Koullapis, municipal employee Demetrios Patsalides, doctor Nicolas Koullapis, engineer Imad Bagle, chemical engineer Theofanis Lolos, and companies Enviroplan, Helector Cyprus, and Midoriaco Ltd.

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