An employee at a shipping and transport company told the Nicosia criminal court on Monday that he used to issue fictitious invoices at the behest of an executive at a waste management company who wanted to plug holes in the books of his firm.
Giorgos Georgiou said he did work for Helector, the company managing the Paphos and Larnaca waste management facilities, who was headed at the time by Ioannis Kokotsis.
At some point, he said, Kokotsis approached him and asked him to issue bogus invoices for services he had never provided.
Kokotsis told him he had gaps in his books he was trying to cover.
Georgiou presented eight bogus invoices of over €10,000 each, which he had managed to locate with the help of his company’s accountant. The witness told the court it is possible there are other invoices but they had not yet managed to find them.
The invoices were used to charge Helector for services that were never provided and the extra cash were subsequently returned to Kokotsis.
Kokotsis had been arrested by police in 2016 when the scandal broke but was released without charge after he agreed to cooperate and provide evidence against others.
Georgiou said one invoice that should have been issued for the sum of €4,941 was issued instead for €29,942; he later returned €25,000 to Kokotsis. The same was done for another one worth €1,300, which was issued for €21,300. The extra €20,000 were later returned to Kokotsis.
The case concerns waste management company Helector, the operator of two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – which is alleged to have overcharged municipalities by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for backhanders.
The defendants are former Larnaca Mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis; Demetrios Patsalides (municipal employee); Michalis Pantis, Stelios Papadopoulos (civil servant), Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis (pensioners); former head of the Paphos Sewerage Board Eftychios Malekkides; Nicholas Koullapis (doctor); Enviroplan S.A.; Theophanis Lolos (chemical engineer); N.E Midoriaco Ltd; and Helector Cyprus Ltd.
The case continues on June 28.