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Cyprus

Audit boss irritated by €463,000 legal bill incurred by law commissioner

Children's rights commissioner Leda Koursoumba

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides told parliament on Thursday that the law commissioner spending €463,000 in legal fees on one private lawyer was a classic case of squandering public money.

The House watchdog committee on Thursday discussed the auditor’s report on the legislation commissioner who spent €463,000 in two years on one lawyer who had been tasked with overseeing the drafting of legislation as part of the procedure to solve the Cyprus problem.

“I feel strongly, I think it constitutes a classic case of squandering public money,” Michaelides told MPs, of the hiring procedure followed by Leda Koursoumba.

He said the lawyer in question received €363,000 between 2015 and 2017 and is owed €100,000 more.

Koursoumba said she was merely carrying out a decision taken by the cabinet in line with a finance ministry proposal.

The law commissioner said it was huge job done by a group of five lawyers who prepared 272 bills spanning over 9,000 pages.

Michaelides said the lawyer in question had a coordinating role and she was receiving €75,000 per six months.

The auditor said no timeframes had been set, no one checked if the payments corresponded with the receivables, and the lawyer was overseeing her own and the others’ work.

Michaelides said he was not disputing the lawyer’s adequacy but proper practice called for some sort of bidding procedure that never took place.

 



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