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Edek leader denies helping relative get Turkish Cypriot property

EDEK chairman Marinos Sizopoulos

Edek chairman Marinos Sizopoulos denied wrongdoing on Tuesday over accusations voiced by Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos that he had intervened to help a relative, a known painter, acquire Turkish Cypriot property despite not being eligible.

Phedonos said the painter, who is not a refugee nor is he in any way eligible, rented the shop at the Paphos harbour from the state and sublets it to a businessman at a much higher price.

The mayor said the tenant has now applied to be allowed to build a roof garden, thus raising the property’s value even more.

Phedonos said he had reported the case to police a year ago but nothing was done.

Sizopoulos denied the accusations, describing them as expediencies and pettiness used with the purpose of serving other objectives.

The Edek leader said the case dates back to 1980 and everything had been done by the book. He added that there was a court order granting the painter permission to rent the property in question.

Sizopoulos said the property had been rented from the Turkish Cypriot owner in 1972 and in 1980 a court decided the painter was an institutional tenant and could keep it.

Phedonos however, said institutional occupancy did not apply to Turkish Cypriot properties. He also charged that the contract had been renewed recently despite him reporting the case to police.

All they did, he said, is raise the rent the painter paid to the state from €1,200 to €2,200 per month, whereas he collects some €6,000 per month.

The outspoken mayor has also opened a front with Akel MP Skevi Koukouma whom he accused of visiting the interior ministry to defend the party’s interests by ensuring certain people were protected despite court orders to terminate Turkish Cypriot property leasing contracts.

The accusations were made some five days ago with Phedonos refraining from naming the “female” MP.

This prompted Koukouma to issue a statement on Tuesday seeking to dispel whispers and shadows spread by the mayor.

Koukouma urged Phedonos not to turn such issues into television shows and be better informed before speaking.

The MP said she had visited the interior minister to discuss refugee issues in her capacity as House refugee committee chairwoman.

During the same meeting Koukoumas also raised the issue of a refugee family that was granted a Turkish Cypriot house in Paphos in 1976.

She said the problem was that despite having agreed the boundaries of the property, the municipality has unilaterally changed it three times and has even used an excavator.

Koukoumas said she raised the matter with the minister so that he could resolve the case.

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