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Cyprus

‘State continues to cooperate with Helector’ despite scandal

The board overseeing a Paphos landfill on Friday expressed displeasure and disagreement with the state’s apparent intention to renew a contract with a waste management company currently on trial on corruption charges in connection with backhanders to state officials and overcharging.

Reports said the state had come to a preliminary agreement with Helector for the operation of a waste management unit in Koshi, Larnaca.

Daily newspaper Phileleftheros said the new deal was much better for the state than the one agreed in 2016 but was never implemented due to the scandal that broke out involving Helector members and state officials.

As operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi – 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.

The board “expresses its strong concern over the fact that 16 months after the scandal was revealed, and the goings-on before the criminal court, instead of terminating the contract, our state and its institutions are discussing amendments and continuation of the contractual relation with this company.”

The statement said in the past 12 years an estimated €35m had been paid to the company in excess charges.

“Let us all focus on recovering the money and not how to continue cooperation with the particular company.”

The former mayors of Paphos and Larnaca, Savvas Vergas and Andreas Louroudjiatis, are among 16 individuals and companies indicted in connection with the alleged scam

Vergas and several others have pleaded guilty and were give custodial and suspended sentences. The trial continues.

 

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