The Paphos criminal court on Wednesday acquitted three individuals and two companies in connection with an alleged road sign scam that took place between 2006 and 2012.
The defendants, a municipal employee and two sign makers and their companies, were accused of charging for signs that were never made.
The court said the Paphos municipality’s management of materials was haphazard at best, but the actions or omissions revealed by the evidence did not in themselves substantiate the essential ingredients of the crime the defendants were charged with.
The court said the failure to record the materials delivered to the accused companies was never of anyone’s concern and measures were never put in place to rectify the situation.
According to the court, the head of the investigators had never looked into the defendants’ claims regarding the supply of material, which was a substantive part of the case.
And a foreman who testified based his statement on memory since the municipality did not keep any records relating to the procurement of the signs.
The municipality’s internal auditor had told the court he had determined that procurement of certain material was not justified based on the tenders.
While the competitions asked for finished signs, he found out that the municipality had purchased sign-making material it shouldn’t have. It was the companies’ obligation to procure the material and not the municipality’s, the witness told the court.
The defendants had argued that their charges only concerned labour, not materials.