Former Paphos mayors Savvas Vergas and Fidias Sarikas, both found guilty of corruption over the Paphos Sewerage Board (Sapa) scandal, will be stripped of all honours traditionally bestowed upon all former municipal officials, the Paphos municipal council decided on Wednesday.
In a statement, the council said it had discussed the issue of the convictions of former elected municipal officials for corruption and bribery.
“The Paphos municipality in the same way that it bestows honours and distinctions to various individuals for their service to organisations and society in general, is also entitled and morally obliged to lift the honour or distinction awarded to people convicted by a court for corruption or actions and omissions detrimental to the esteem of the municipal council and the municipality they served,” the statement said.
Therefore, it decided to strike the names of Vergas and Sarikas from all commemorative plaques marking municipality projects or events, not display their photograph in the Paphos Town Hall or any other public building or location in town, and exclude their names from the list of mayors mentioned in the municipality’s annual memorial service for deceased mayors, deputy mayors, and major benefactors.
The same penalty – removal of his name from the list of names mentioned at the annual memorial service – was imposed on former deputy mayor Efstathios Efstathiou, also convicted for corruption over Sapa contracts.
In what is bound to be a controversial deduction, the council also decided to cancel the naming of a Paphos street and a municipal park in honour of the late municipal councillor Andreas Omirou.
“In the ruling of the Paphos criminal court [in the Sapa trial] dated May 19, 2017, it is clearly pointed out that the late former municipal councillor was implicated in the Sapa corruption case,” the council justified.
The decisions, it added, came into immediate effect, with the exception of those for which an appeal in court is available.