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Pair get suspended jail sentence in waste management trial (Updated)

Koshi waste management site

Two defendants in the waste management trial received a ten-month suspended jail sentence on Friday following their admission.

Helector mechanical engineer Imad Baqle and civil servant Christakis Petrou were among 16 defendants – including two former mayors –  who had been indicted in relation with the alleged scam.

Petrou was found guilty for receiving €3,000 in 2011 from Helector. He was at the time handling the contract of Helector at the interior ministry for the Koshi landfill and was a member of the negotiating committee for the Paphos landfill.

Baqle pleaded guilty to four charges of drafting and circulating false documents.

Both Petrou’s and Baqle’ sentences were suspended for three years.

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.

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 (civil servant), 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.

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