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Cyprus

Prosecutors drop waste management charges

Nicosia court

Prosecutors on Friday dropped charges against a civil servant who had been implicated in a waste management scandal, which also involved senior local authority officials.

During a hearing before the Nicosia Criminal Court, the state prosecutor informed the judges that a prosecution witness, currently in jail for a related offence, had decided not to testify, and his testimony was the only one that could substantiate the charges against Stelios Papadopoulos, the accused.

The witness was Eftihios Malikkides, the former head of the Paphos sewerage board who had been jailed for six years over a similar case in Paphos.

He was also a defendant in the current corruption case relating to waste management operations in Paphos and Larnaca but admitted the charges and got 15 months jail time.

As operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi – a company, Helector, is alleged to have overcharged municipalities – and ultimately the taxpayer – by reporting higher waste volumes, while public officials looked the other way in return for skimming off the top.

The former mayors of Paphos and Larnaca, Savvas Vergas and Andreas Louroudjiatis, were among 16 individuals and companies indicted in connection with the alleged scam.

Vergas and several others have pleaded guilty and were given custodial and suspended sentences.

Vergas had been jailed for six years for his role in the Paphos scandal and got two more after pleading guilty in this trial.

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