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Our View: PEPs list uninformative but a step in the right direction

Adamou
House president Adamos Adamou

After almost two years of political bickering and accusations flying in all directions the notorious Georghadji List, naming politically exposed persons (PEPs) and others with non-performing loans (NPLs) was posted on the House of Representatives website on Friday. The list had been sent to the House by the outgoing governor of the Central Bank Chrystalla Georghadji in April 2019 but the House president at the time was unwilling to publish it, citing constitutional reasons and protection of personal data. He was accused of wanting to suppress the list to protect deputies with NPLs from being exposed.

The list was released in its original, raw form at it had been finalised on December 31, 2018, two years ago. It showed that those who objected to its publication had a point in arguing that it was out of date and that some loans had been restructured and were performing now. The same people also argued that disclosure would be a violation of the law protecting personal data, but the new House president Adamos Adamou paid no heed, satisfying instead the public calls for the release of the list. Once the list was posted, there were announcements from PEPs, either claiming they were now paying off their loans or that they had been wrongly included in the list.

Should those that had had their loans restructured and were paying them off since the list was drafted been exposed? No, but as the list had not been updated this was unavoidable once the decision to make it public was taken.

This was not the only problem of the list. The bigger problem was that it provided no information as to whether the PEPs on the list had been given preferential treatment by the banks. Who were granted 30, 40 or 50 per cent write-offs on their loans? This is what the public had a right to know rather than which deputy had an NPL – as it is the special favours that gives rise to conflict of interest and corruption.

We will not be informed about this, because no bank would give out such data. And people will have been disappointed with the Georghadji list, as there was little in it that had not been made public in the past, wondering what all the fuss of the last two years was about.

Still, its release was a positive development, and the House president should be congratulated for pushing for its publication, which was a small victory for the people that had applied the pressure.

 

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