MPs will step up gear to speed up adoption of a code of conduct in line with recommendations from the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, House institutions committee chairman Zacharia Zachariou said on Wednesday.
Zachariou told reporters the committee was looking at a shorter draft so that it can comply by autumn.
According to a 2019 report of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (Greco), Cyprus was among the countries with the highest number of non-implemented recommendations as regards parliamentarians.
One of the issues raised was the need for a Code of Conduct for MPs (covering notably gifts and other advantages, contacts with third parties and lobbyists, accessory activities, post-employment situations) that will offer clear guidance on how to prevent and manage conflicts of interest concerning MPs.
Zachariou said the committee had started discussing the code of conduct last July.
“We have decided that the House services will prepare a much smaller draft in the next 15 days so that we can deal with the issue more quickly,” he said.
And he added: “Our aim is to complete and adopt a code of conduct for members of the House of Representatives,” he said.
He said MPs did not intend to rush things to the detriment of quality but added that this did not mean that a code would never be adopted.
“An effort will be made for it to be completed within autumn so that the Greco’s demand as regards the Cyprus parliament is satisfied,” he said.
The institutions committee had also decided to authorise him to write to the speaker of the House and the president of the House legal affairs committee asking that all the bills on assets declarations of public figures be sent to the committee to be amended.
“The law should be modernised to send the picture we want to send, that of checks and of transparency as regards the finances of state officials and especially of MPs,” he said.
There were different bills before the legal affairs committee and others before the institutions committee. One committee should take over the task, he said.
“As the institutions committee we have the will to work to create something we are proud of. We are tired of MPs being accused about their finances. We are among those who believe that there are worthy and honest people in politics, and we want this to be proven through a modern asset declarations system to that there are no black marks on the names of anyone,” he said.
“On the other hand, if someone does not comply with the rules they should be named and punished.”