The auditor general’s office raised the red flag over a farewell do – which has now been cancelled – for a public official that would have cost the taxpayer €10,000.

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) had planned a goodbye party for its president Demetra Kalogerou and its board had approved a price tag of about €10,000 –to be paid by the Commission, that is with public funds.

But Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides sent a letter on Wednesday to CySec criticising the move and on Thursday CySec confirmed that the party has been cancelled.

In a statement, CySec said that the board had approved the party in the absence of its president, Demetra Kalogerou, for “obvious reasons” and that it fully respects the auditor general’s instructions – as such, the party has been cancelled.

For his part, Michaelides had written to CySec saying that the move was unprecedented and unacceptable.

He further stated that the practice which is typically followed in the public sector for such events is that they are organised at the initiative of the staff and payment is covered by those attending.

“Needless to say, CySec is a public body that manages public funds, and it is unthinkable for it to behave in this way, using public funds for clearly private purposes,” Michaelides wrote.

The audit office was alerted to the incident by a complaint which it received on September 5. In the checks that followed it was confirmed that the CySec board had decided to cover the costs of the farewell party in a meeting on August 2.

Reports said that staff and about 100 officials and friends of the outgoing head were due to be invited.

Kalogerou’s term ends on September 15.