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Helector denies having gone back on deal with the state (Updated)

The Koshi waste processing plant

The consortium comprising Helector and Cybarco, which has constructed and operates the Koshi waste-management plant, on Thursday denied having gone back on a verbal agreement with the government to amend the existing contract, despite press reports to that effect.

In a statement, the consortium said that “in response to reports concerning negotiations with the Central Committee of Changes and Claims”, the consortium said that “it’s traditionally responsible stance has shown that it is receptive to initiatives aiming to serve the public interest and protect public health and the environment”.

“[The consortium] is not reneging, as has been wrongly reported, and, ignoring unethical and baseless attacks, continues to fully meet its obligations both toward its staff of 80 and public organisations and other suppliers, safeguarding the continuous and successful operation of the Koshi facility,” the statement said.

“And this despite the fact that, since January 2015 to date, the consortium is owed the operation fees, resulting in it essentially funding the treatment of waste from the Larnaca district.”

The consortium called on all stakeholders “to show the same responsible stance, isolating other parties that serve other expediencies, in order to achieve the common goal of protecting public health, the environment, and the public interest”.

On Wednesday, Central Committee of Changes and Claims head Stratis Matheou had gone on record saying Helector had pulled out of talks for additional quantities of waste at a substantially lower price than originally agreed.

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.”

The company is facing trial over allegations that it overcharged municipalities as operator of the Paphos and Koshi plants.

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.

In a statement of response, the Central Committee of Changes and Claims acknowledged the consortium’s position but noted that it lacked any reference to “the substance of the matter”, namely the principle that no complementary agreement will be made if it is used in ongoing criminal proceedings.

“The consortium’s silence on the matter confirms its intentions,” the committee said.

“Therefore, we consider the matter closed and the issue will now return to the Water Development Board, which had asked the committee to investigate the prospects of striking a complementary agreement with the consortium.”

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