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Contractor corruption watchdog unable to carry out duties

The committee had been established to monitor the working practices of building contractors

The government has failed to properly support a committee it had set up to review cases of contractors suspected of bribery or misconduct forcing its chairman to resign, MPs said on Wednesday.

During a session of the House ethics committee, lawmakers said the chairman of the exclusion committee, Georgios Arestis, resigned because even though the state had established the committee to monitor the practices of contractors, it had failed to provide him with adequate support on a technical and staffing level.

Arestis, who previously served as a judge at the supreme court, had said he was leaving the job for personal reasons.

But Akel MP Aristos Damianou said the exclusion committee now in its second year of operating “does not even have a secretary, an office, nor the logistical and human resources so they can carry out their duties”.

“This is the reason that led to its chairman to resign and we want to believe that after today’s session those in power will receive the message. That they can’t set up institutions, grant them powers, authorities that have to do with clamping and deterring corruption but have no support.”

Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis called the state a useless entity which “not only doesn’t condemn illegality but rewards it.”

In turn, Diko MP Zacharias Koulias said “the very government that appointed people to the exclusion committee, in essence rid them of any opportunity to do their work.”

He added that Arestis had in the past sent a letter to the finance ministry’s permanent secretary, outlining problems but has yet to receive a response.

Arestis had apparently met with the finance minister, saw no change, sent a letter but got no reply.

Koulias questioned whether the government was really sincere in clamping down on corruption while Damianou appealed to the finance ministry to look into the matter immediately.


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