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Cyprus

Law on capital statements impossible to implement

Personal data protection commissioner Irene Loizidou

The law on disclosure of politically exposed persons and government officials, which requires thousands of individuals to submit capital statements by next month to a three-person committee, is practically impossible to implement and the justice ministry has prepared amendments aiming to make it workable, it emerged on Tuesday.

According to daily Politis, many of those affected have been taking up their issues with requirements to disclose private information with the commissioner for personal data protection, since the law mandates that they need to submit capital statements for themselves as well as their spouses and children.

The president and his 11 ministers along with the undersecretary to the president, the 56 MPs and six MEPs, a total of 75 officials, are required to submit their and their families’ asset statements to the House committee on source of funds for review.

In contrast, the thousands of individuals designated as politically exposed must submit theirs to a three-person panel by September 23, a task deemed practically impossible.

In response, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou has prepared amending legislation to remedy the unfolding situation.

On recommendation of the panel’s chief Doros Ioannides, the minister’s amendments will extend the submission deadline to year-end, remove local council and semi-state organisation board members from the list of PEPs, distinguish between the individuals whose statements will be made public from those subject for review only, and remove any personal data from the published documents.

The last provision was inserted into the amending proposals, which need to be passed by parliament, by personal data commissioner Irene Loizidou Nicolaidou, who was not involved in the preparation of the original bill but subsequently voiced objections.

In one example, she noted the paradox in the provision that the documents submitted to the panel be destroyed, when some capital statements will be posted online – meaning they will remain in the public domain forever.

She also argued that posting sensitive data, such as ID numbers and bank accounts online, poses serious risks.

Meanwhile, the House committee on source of funds has concluded its review of the 75 government officials’ capital statements and will post them online on September 4.

These will not include the statements of their wives and children, since the Legal Service has advised that the law requires them to do so in the next round of submissions, three years from now.

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