Former head of the Paphos Sewerage Board (Sapa) Eftychios Malekides pleaded guilty in court on Monday to the charge of being bribed by the company running the Paphos landfill, Helector Cyprus, to the tune of €165,000 to expedite overdue payments owed to it.
Malekides, already serving a six-year prison sentence for his involvement in the antecedent case of the Paphos sewerage scandal, is a defendant in the ongoing trial concerning the landfills at Koshi, Larnaca, and Marathounda, Paphos, which have been rolled into one case.
He told the court that he received from Helector Cyprus, through former Paphos Mayor Savvas Vergas, who is also doing time for the sewerage scandal, €165,000 to assist in repaying the arrears to Helector.
The bribery took place sometime between 2009 and 2010, the court heard.
Corruption of a public official entails a jail sentence of up to seven years and/or a fine of up to €100,000.
Having pleaded guilty to the specific charges, Malekides informed the court of his intention to now turn state’s witness. In the wake of his admission, the prosecution announced it was withdrawing six other charges against him.
Meanwhile another defendant, municipal employee Demetrios Patsalides, informed the court that he was switching lawyers.
The new lawyer requested time to familiarise himself with the case.
The court granted the request, and the trial proper will be resuming on September 4.
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 – face scores of 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; Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos (civil servant), Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis (pensioners); Nicholas Koullapis (doctor); Enviroplan S.A.; Theofanis Lolos (chemical engineer); N.E Midoriaco Ltd; and Helector Cyprus Ltd.