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Cyprus

Politicians in trouble for failing to file expenses

The returns officer for Nicosia district has asked for the prosecution of a Disy candidate after he failed to file an expenses report following the parliamentary elections in 2016, it emerged on Wednesday.

According to a report on the subject by the auditor-general, the Nicosia district returns officer had informed Andreas Pitsillides on June 6, 2016 that he had been fined €500 for his failure, plus €50 per day of delay in filing his expense report. He was also told that failure to do so inside 30 days from the deadline made him guilty of an illegal action.

On July 19, and after Pitsillides failed to respond, the returns officer asked the attorney-general for permission to prosecute. The AG conveyed his request to the chief of police the following month. No other information on the case was immediately available.

The auditor-general also found two other Disy candidates, Natasa Pilidou and Mariella Aristidou, had exceeded the €30,000 limit. Aristidou was elected.

It was also found that the two, along with five other candidates, had failed to declare all their expenses.

Pilidou failed to declare €4,284, Aristidou, €5,950, the highest out of the seven.

Pilidou said the receipts for those expenses were attached to her report but she had not included them in the form because she misunderstood the way it was filled.

Aristidou said the advertising agency had included a receipt for €5,950 that did not concern her campaign but a company that supported her.

According to the auditor, expense reports from 101 had not been date stamped by the district administrations and there was no way of confirming whether they had been filed in time.

An additional 59 reports were not accompanied by a sworn statement, in line with the law, the auditor said.

The report said 498 candidates had submitted an expense report, with 183 failing to attach any receipts because their obligation was not clear in the law, the auditor said.

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