Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos’ claims of rampant corruption at the Turkish Cypriot Properties’ Administration Service of the Republic of Cyprus were corroborated in an internal report prepared by the service’s acting director, according to daily Politis.
Citing the service’s strategic plan from 2017 to 2019, the paper said acting director Makis Nicolaides pointed out several of the issues raised by Phedonos in two letters, dated February and March, 2016, to the Interior ministry.
The service was set up in 1991 to help alleviate the suffering of displaced Greek Cypriots by temporarily allocating some of the properties left behind by Turkish Cypriots at nominal fees.
According to Nicolaides, Turkish Cypriot-owned residences, plots, and establishments, are being held by unauthorised individuals, illegally sub-leased to others, irregularly built on or extended, and used for purposes other than those stated and authorised.
Nicolaides said that even in the case of eligible individuals – people displaced during the 1974 Turkish invasion – it is not uncommon for land of excessive value and size to be apportioned to them, relative to their holdings in the Turkish-held areas.
The state, he added, conducts nominal – if any – checks on the veracity of applicants’ data and use of properties.
Nicolaides also reported that various unauthorised individuals routinely loitered in the service’s district offices.
“It has been identified and reported that unauthorised individuals loiter aimlessly at the offices of the Turkish Cypriot Properties Administration Service, or, worse, are there to be informed and possibly influence the outcome of various applications by others,” Nicolaides reported.
“At times, the false but intentional impression is given that decisions were taken following pressure and suggestion by others, precisely because of the presence of unauthorised individuals at our place of work.”
As a remedy, the acting boss recommended that a sign informs the public that entry is restricted, the appointment of a customer-service person to provide the public with information and documents, and the removal of chairs not used by civil servants working there.
The Interior ministry’s report said that rents due from allocated Turkish Cypriot properties as at year-end 2015 were €7.3 million, 5.2 per cent up from the previous year.