Cyprus Mail

Group wants protection for whistleblower mayor

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

The friends of the police have demanded protective measures for Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos, saying he could be in danger after his latest revelations relating to the mismanagement of Turkish Cypriot properties.

In a letter to the president, the justice minister, the attorney-general, and the chief of police, the association said Phedonos must be afforded a security detail because of his revelations about the properties and the waste management scandal in the past.

The association said he was the only politician in history who dared to investigate and substantiate criminal cases against state officials.

“The hate and vengefulness are increasing exponentially and there is a strong possibility of him suffering a premeditated and ruthless attack against life and limb if the protective measures demanded by us, his relatives, and friends are not put in place,” the association said. “It is everyone’s duty and obligation.”

On Wednesday, Phedonos went public with the names of people, including a prominent businessman and a former minister, who allegedly held Turkish Cypriot property worth millions without being eligible.

The mayor said there had been political intervention in the way the properties were allocated and authorities had also turned a blind eye to unlawful acts.

Following the 1974 Turkish invasion, properties abandoned by Turkish Cypriots in the south were, by law, put under the protection of the interior ministry, or the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties.

Because of the need to house Greek Cypriots who were displaced from the north, it was decided to allocate such properties to them – usually for a small fee – on condition that the owners would not lose their rights.

Phedonos named businessman Nicos Shacolas, former defence minister Elias Eliades, and a number of other people, including Dionisis Malas, father of presidential candidate Stavros Malas.

The mayor said Shacolas had been given 230 donums of Turkish Cypriot land next to his golf project in the area of Limni, near Polis, for which he paid €2,085 per year when according to the use, he should have been paying €66,482.

He said the company was not eligible to be given Turkish Cypriot land.

The company that owns Limni resort said all its dealings were above board, adding that it was looking into suing Phedonos.

The mayor responded on Thursday evening, pointing out to Shacolas that the information he gave was already published in the auditor-general’s report for 2015.

“It is certainly everyone’s right to respond to public accusations that concern them,” Phedonos said. “The Shacolas Group is trying to prevent investigation of my reports by announcing that it will take legal measures against me. The announcement aims at preventing the mass media from reporting on the matters concerning the group in question. Let me stress one thing, these methods not only fail to stop me, but they provide me with the strength to continue.”

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