The debate concerning the retirement date of the incumbent attorney-general continued Thursday with Costas Clerides defending his decision to leave office at the end of the month, arguing that leaving earlier would be tantamount to resigning.
Clerides also rubbished suggestions he had sought to extend his tenure by around a month for financial gain.
“I don’t see any reason why I should leave earlier by resigning,” he told the Cyprus News Agency, adding that any extra income would be given to the anti-cancer association.
The issue emerged on Tuesday after the president announced the appointments of Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides as the new attorney-general and Defence Minister Savvas Angelides as his deputy.
Their confirmation ceremony was set for July 10. On Thursday the president appointed Savvides’ and Angelides’ replacements at the ministries but their inauguration date has not been announced yet.
Clerides said he was retiring a month later because he had been unable to take his accumulated leave due to the absence of a deputy attorney-general to replace him if he went on holiday until his retirement.
He said he had informed the finance ministry, and everything was done by the book, denying reports in Politis and Kathimerini that he was trying to extend his term in a bid to cash in his leave.
Speaking to CNA, Clerides said his departure appeared to be as turbulent as his term at the Legal Service.
“A seemingly serious matter has been created out of nothing, as usual by some people who are always lurking in the corner,” he said. “I did not, or have, any intention, as the guardian of the constitution and the laws, to violate any provision.”
He said he wrote to the finance minister and the treasurer and it had been decided that I would not go on pre-retirement holiday before I was 68, on July 8, 2020.
“I thus see no reason why I should leave earlier by resigning of course. I see no reason.”
In a statement on Thursday, the treasury said Clerides could take leave until the end of the month after he turned 68, provided the new attorney-general was officially appointed.
“That is, Mr. Giorgos Savvides will exercise the duties of the attorney-general of the Republic from the day of his official appointment and Mr. Costas Clerides will be on pre-retirement leave until July 31, 2020,” the treasury said.