Cyprus Mail

Waste management trial questions authority of court

The court trying the waste management corruption case did not have the authority to examine a motion filed by the defence on Monday asking for procedures against two defendants – an individual and a company – to be terminated, claiming they had been tainted because an extradition order was issued on the wrong information, the prosecution said.

State prosecutor Ninos Kekkos argued that the Nicosia criminal court must first decide whether it had jurisdiction to rule on the request before examining the substance of it.
Kekkos said the request was essentially asking the court to examine the legality of a decision taken by a foreign court.

On Monday, defence lawyer Chris Triantafyllides suggested that if the Greek court knew that the offence described by one of the charges had been allegedly committed in Cyprus and Greece, then, based on Greek law, it would not have issued an extradition order for Theofanis Lolos. He argued that one of the charges against Lolos and Enviroplan SA had been withdrawn because the related offence had not been included in the ones for which the order had been issued.

Kekkos argued that issues of such nature did not fall under jurisdiction of the criminal court, wondering where the authority for examining the execution of European arrest warrants stemmed from, prompting the defence to file such a motion.

The prosecutor added that the Cypriot authorities’ extradition request was based on witness testimony which doesn’t include any reference to offences being committed in Greece. The only reference to Greece concerned a meeting to decide on the scale of a bid.

“The Republic appeared before the Greek authorities with clean hands, presenting the testimony in had before it,” Kekkos said.

The court said it will announce its decision on Wednesday.

The case revolves around waste management company Helector, the operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – which is alleged to have overcharged municipalities by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for backhanders.

They – individuals and three companies – face 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 current defendants are former Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis, Demetrios Patsalides (municipal employee), Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos (civil servant), Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis (pensioner), former head of the Paphos Sewerage Board Eftychios Malekkides, Nicholas Koullapis (doctor), Enviroplan SA, Lolos (chemical engineer), NE Midoriaco Ltd, and Helector Cyprus Ltd.

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