Helector Cyprus has decided to withdraw its name from consideration in a new deal for the operation of the Koshi waste-management plant, Central Committee of Changes and Claims chief Stratis Matheou said on Wednesday.
The company is facing trial over allegations that it overcharged municipalities as operator of the Marathounda, Paphos, and Koshi plants.
Last week, Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos and the Marathounda landfill oversight board voiced grave concern that the state continued to work with Helector and was even considering extending the collaboration.
On Tuesday night, after it became known that Helector had pulled out, Phedonos posted his relief on Facebook.
“Good news: Helector has withdrawn its interest for a new deal,” the mayor wrote.
“The state was humiliated once more, since it stood ready to sign it. Some of us remain committed to good governance rules.”
But speaking on Politis radio, Matheou said negotiations with Helector were initiated for additional quantities of waste within the timeframe of the existing contract, and not over the possible extension of the contract itself.
“The committee had received a letter from the agriculture ministry concerning the closure of the Kotsiatis landfill and the looming fine from the European Commission if a solution was not found imminently,” he said.
“The negotiation with Helector was over the transfer of added quantities to the Koshi plant, without extending the duration of the contract.”
A preliminary deal clinched and approved by the attorney-general’s office had set the price of processing added quantities at €36.50 per tonne, Matheou said.
“But we made it clear right off the bat that we would not link any deliberations with the issue of the outstanding legal proceedings,” he noted.
“It seems that the company’s intention had been to link the two, and the company’s chief told me on the phone [on Tuesday], after we reiterated our position, that the company refused to even discuss the matter further.”
In the committee’s letter to the Legal Service, it had made clear that the agreement should in no way be linked to the court cases, Matheou said.
“When the company withdrew its interest after we inserted this clause, it meant that this is what it was after,” he added.
Asked whether the company may have realised that the deal was not profitable, Matheou said that what appears to have happened is that the company was primarily interested in the criminal proceedings, noting that in his view this was the main reason Helector withdrew from the agreement.
He added that the committee will urge the agriculture ministry to invite new tenders so that Kotsiatis can be closed, thus avoiding the European Commission fine.