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MPs give government two weeks to adapt anti-corruption bill

Greco

The House legal affairs committee on Wednesday finished discussion of a bill providing for the creation of an authority against corruption and gave the government two weeks to incorporate the changes into the bill so that it could be put to the vote soon.

“Through discussion … views were exchanged, positions, and proposals have been submitted, that add or remove certain provisions of the bill under discussion,” committee chairman, Disy MP, Giorgos Georgiou said.

Georgiou said the committee expected an updated document in two weeks, taking into account everything that was discussed.

The authority will be made up of three members, with the transparency commissioner at the helm.

“The objective is to examine complaints from the public, semi-public and wider public sector, as well as the private sector, or launch probes into acts or potential acts of corruption,” Georgiou said.

Georgiou said Disy did not favour the authority having the power to conduct criminal probes to avoid overlapping with other institutions like the Legal Service.

The authority will have the power to examine reports against the president and his cabinet.

Trust towards political parties, already in tatters, was dealt a severe blow in October after an undercover video showed former House president Demetris Syllouris and former Akel MP Christakis Giovanis offering their help to a fictitious Chinese businessman with a criminal record secure citizenship in return for cash.

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (Greco) has called on Cyprus to fully implement its recommendations relating to corruption before parliamentary elections in May.

In its second compliance report for Cyprus published on November 17, Greco said full implementation of recommendations has become “all the more pressing” given recent “serious allegations of undue influence of third parties over some MPs”.

Of the 16 recommendations made by Greco in 2016 to Cyprus, seven have been fully implemented, six remain partly implemented and three have not been implemented, according to the compliance report.

The report stresses the need for a code of conduct for members of parliament to be adopted to prevent various forms of corruption, and to address issues such as conflict of interest and lobbying. MPs’ asset declaration should be more comprehensive, and control over such declarations needs strengthening, Greco noted.

 

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