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State institutions continue to squabble

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides

Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottidou hit back at Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides on Friday after he suggested she is refusing to disclose information he requested because it would show her office’s poor productivity.

The information Michaelides said he was seeking from the ombudswoman was not available through her publicly available reports and he was waiting to see whether she would submit it to parliament, as per its request.

On Friday, Michaelides published two graphs that he said showed the number of reports the ombudswoman’s office had prepared over the past five years, suggesting they might be the reason why she is so reluctant to provide him with the information he requested.

The graphs showed that the office had issued around 120 reports annually in 2014, 2015, and 2016, only to drop to between 20 and 30 in 2017 and 2018.

Lottidou responded later Friday, saying Michaelides had drafted the graphs with “data of an unknown origin” that aimed to keep up the intimidation campaign against her.

“The Auditor-General’s persistence demonstrates how unprofessional and malicious his attitude is,” the Ombudswoman said. “Once again, I want to make it clear that I will not give in to any kind of intimidation, threat or pressure.”

Michaelides and Stylianou-Lottidou have been engaged in a quarrel over jurisdictions, with the ombudswoman refusing to give the auditor-general specific data on the operation of her office that he had asked for.

On Monday, Lottidou refused to give auditors the data they wanted, arguing her office can only carry out a financial audit of her office and not the administrative audit Michaelides wanted.

The ombudswoman said that in any case the data the auditor wanted were included in her annual reports.

Michaelides said his service wanted specific data for 2015 until 2018 for comparison purposes that will not be included in the ombudswoman’s annual report for 2018, which has yet to be published.

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