The supreme court rejected an appeal to return over 600,000 Covid rapid tests seized as part of an investigation into bogus kits.

The appeal had been filed by the importer, which claimed its Chinese supplier had sent tests that did not meet the criteria.

The company had won a tender to provide the health ministry with 1.2m rapid tests at a cost of around 1.7m – and did so – but the company was instead given tests which did not meet the contract’s specifications.

It was reported on Wednesday that the company had two months to fulfil its obligations (until June 25) but on May 19 600,000 rapid tests purchased from a Chinese company arrived in Cyprus which did not meet the contract’s criteria.

The company attempted to hand them over to the health ministry but they were rejected due to non-compliance with the contract, with a report being made by the ministry and a police investigation subsequently launched.

It was further reported that the company was “deceived” by its Chinese supplier, which provided tests from another manufacturer rather than the one which had been agreed upon.

The 600,000 tests in question were then confiscated – with the company seemingly concerned that it would miss the August 1 deadline, when the government’s free rapid test programme is set to end.

But the supreme court rejected the company’s call for the confiscation order to be annulled, arguing that it has other legal remedies available.