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Cyprus

Inquiry finds that abattoir gamed loopholes in the system

Cypra 07
The Cypra slaughterhouse in Kato Moni

The attorney-general on Tuesday made public the findings of an inquiry into the operation of a slaughterhouse linked to the state treasurer who was cleared of any wrongdoing but was subjected to a disciplinary probe in connection with the case.

The inquiry, however, had found that Cypra, the company that owns the slaughterhouse, had acted arbitrarily, and exploited time-consuming processes throughout the years to preserve various unlawful practices.

More specifically, the report said the company had constructed buildings without permits and failed to comply with demolition orders. The report said Cypra sought to perpetuate the irregularities by using time consuming administrative procedures.

“During all stage, from 2006 till today, it strongly claimed its rights – which is its right. On the other hand, it used double standards whenever it suited it,” the report said.

While Cypra secured court orders banning the sale or lease of the state slaughterhouse in Kofinou, “it then sought to use its installations.”

A separate disciplinary probe had been ordered against state treasurer Rea Georgiou and a senior treasury officer in connection with Cypra.

The probe has finished but its findings have not yet been made public.

The probe had been initiated after allegations that Georgiou had stopped a €54,000 cheque deposited by her husband’s company as guarantee of faithful execution of an agreement with the government just hours after it was deposited in the government account.

The cheque was deposited after Cypra failed to honour a 2015 animal waste processing contract with the veterinary services.

She denied any wrongdoing and said there was a court order which prohibited the seizure of the guarantee pending conclusion of the case.

Georgiou also said that at the time, to avoid any actions that would suggest conflict of interest she had recused herself.

The case of the cheque emerged after the public spotlight fell on Cypra in November last year when some 100 staff at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus.

It later emerged that the majority were asylum seekers who had not been declared to the department of social insurance.

The matter gradually snowballed, revealing building code and environmental violations, among others, that were never properly addressed, ostensibly due to slow bureaucratic and legal procedures.

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