Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Police investigate mayor’s latest corruption claims (Updated)

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

 

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos may give another statement to the police regarding matters of corruption, following the one he gave on Tuesday night, he said on Wednesday.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Phedonos said that several incidents of corruption have emerged recently, and some were the subject matter of his Tuesday statement to the police.

The outspoken mayor said he will soon make a further public statement on some of the controversial issues he has raised.

Phedonos arrived at the Nicosia CID headquarters unusually late on Tuesday – around 10:30pm – and gave a three-hour statement.

He had been in Nicosia for another commitment when he got a call from the police to see if he would be interested in coming in to share any evidence he had regarding incidents of corruption he has alluded to publicly.

Police have already started evaluating the merit of Phedonos’ statement and will follow up on any leads by taking statements from those named by the mayor.

In the course of the investigation, police sources have said, Phedonos may be asked to give a supplementary statement.

However, the same sources said that in his Tuesday statement the mayor did not provide names in connection with corruption scandals.

Attorney General Costas Clerides chimed in with a brief statement later in the day saying that public statements regarding any offences should be kept at a minimum.

Speaking to the CNA, he said “any citizen that has in his possession evidence of offences committed by any person, is duty bound to put it before police and be certain that they will be investigated.”

Public statements over such matters “should be kept at a minimum and not name or paint a picture of who may be potentially concerned” as this could be violating the premise of innocent until proven guilty and thus potentially affect police investigations.

Since making headlines for the first time in 2014, when his public allegations of bribe-taking at the Paphos Sewerage Board (Sapa) led to the downfall and incarceration of his predecessor Savvas Vergas, former Sapa director Eftichios Malekkides and others, Phedonos has often spoken publicly of particular incidents of corruption, often naming names.

Most recently, in a televised interview last week, he claimed that a multi-billion proposed development on Church of Cyprus-owned land would be funded by a Hungarian investor who made his money in the adult-film industry, that the ‘Panama papers’ list was tampered with to remove politically connected individuals, and that two party leaders and a senior banking official granted favours to land developers in exchange for free construction work.

He followed this up earlier this week with claims that four politicians, one from each of the mainstream parties Disy, Akel, Diko and Edek, took kickbacks in the 1999 sale of TOR-M1 missiles by Greece to Cyprus.

Last month, Phedonos single-handedly kick-started a debate over the mismanagement of Turkish Cypriot properties in the government-controlled areas, claiming that many cases in which non-refugees and other non-eligible individuals and companies were granted properties irregularly pointed to large-scale corruption.

 

His allegations on Turkish Cypriot properties prompted police to set up a separate team to investigate.

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