Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides told MPs on Monday he did not expect an investigative committee looking into the island’s citizenship by investment programme to complete the entire task without needing extensions so it was decided to complete it piecemeal and issue interim reports.
Savvides appointed the committee early September and, in line with legislation, it was given three months to complete its probe or seek an extension. Such panels can ask a maximum of two extensions of three months each.
“There is no way the report can be drafted within three months,” he said. Savvides said he expected an extension request and if needed a second one.
However, the four-member panel has agreed not to wait nine months to issue its report, but to pen interim findings on the cases investigated until that time in which they feel there are grounds for rescinding a citizenship or launch disciplinary or criminal proceedings against parties who may be involved.
Each interim report will be studied by the attorney-general and either conveyed to the police or the relevant authorities for further action.
The panel, headed by former supreme court judge Miron Nikolatos, will probe over 6,000 cases spanning over a decade.
The decision was made after broadcaster Al Jazeera reported that Cyprus was granting citizenships to dubious individuals.
The government vehemently denied the allegations but a month later it was forced to terminate the programme after Al Jazeera aired a second report with an undercover film showing the House president and an MP offering assistance to a fake Chinese businessman with a criminal record to secure citizenship.
They have since resigned.