Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said he had nothing personal against Paralimni Mayor Theodoros Pirillis who went on a tirade on Saturday over a damning audit report about the municipality after issuing two statements in the previous days.

Pirillis rejected the findings, suggesting he was being personally targeted for the benefit of other districts.

Michaelides responded on Saturday for the first time, saying he had nothing against Pirillis. Earlier, the audit service tweeted excerpts of its report, saying the Paralimni mayor had essentially admitted the irregularities during a news conference in the morning, but insisted on accusing them of having ulterior motives.

“Truth be told, I haven’t understood why the mayor believes I have something personal against him,” Michaelides tweeted. “In all my life, we may have spoken two-three times. The audit service put on paper what the whole of Cyprus knows.”

Of Pirillis’ accusation that Michalides was trying to turn public opinion against him ahead of local elections in December (the report, Pirillis said, was penned before a decision to postpone the elections for two and a half years), the auditor pointed out that the mayor had said last year that he was not going to run again.

Michaelides also attached the mayor’s quote.

The audit report of Paralimni municipality, published on Thursday, revealed a litany of irregularities and failures, including not keeping track of construction work within its jurisdiction, wasted money, unlawful interventions on the coast, and possible embezzlement.

In a news conference on Saturday, Pirillis claimed the information was misleading. He reiterated that he was being bullied, alleging that everything was being done to benefit other districts.

He even took a swipe at the officer who carried out the audit who was from Paphos.

Pirillis said the entire state machinery was out to get him because of his position on local authority reform.

The mayor referred to a bomb placed outside his home in 2018, saying his son would not have been alive today if he had arrived 10 minutes later.

He accused the police of finding evidence, but the case did not go anywhere.

It was the only attack against a politician which was not solved, he said.