A fourth defendant in the waste management corruption trial pleaded guilty on Friday and was now awaiting sentencing, as the high-profile case continued.
Helector mechanical engineer Imad Baqle pleaded guilty to four charges of drafting and circulating false documents, making him the fourth defendant out of 16 to admit charges relating to overcharges and kickbacks in the management of waste.
As operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – Helector is alleged to have overcharged municipalities – and ultimately the taxpayer – by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for skimming off the top.
In total, 16 defendants – including two former mayors – had been indicted in relation to the alleged scam.
They – individuals and three companies – faced 104 charges including conspiracy to defraud, bribery, abuse of power, breach of trust by a public official, conspiracy to commit a felony, money laundering, and obtaining money under false pretences.
The other defendants are former Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis; former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas; Demetris Yiannakopoulos, former director of Helector; Demetrios Patsalides (municipal employee); Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos, Christos Petrou (civil servants); Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis (pensioners); former head of the Paphos Sewerage Board Eftychios Malekkides; Nicholas Koullapis (doctor); Enviroplan S.A.; Theofanis Lolos (chemical engineer); N.E Midoriaco Ltd; and Helector Cyprus Ltd.
Vergas pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail in addition to six he was doing for his involvement in the Paphos sewerage scandal.
Malekkides is also doing six years for his involvement in the Paphos case.
Yannakopoulos also pleaded guilty last month, getting an 18-month sentence suspended for three years.
Petrou too has admitted his involvement and together with Baqle they will plead for leniency next Wednesday.