Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides on Monday waved aside conjecture that has him aspiring for the presidency in 2023, and said this talk comes from quarters who wish to distract from the watchdog’s findings.
Michaelides tweeted out: “Because various media as well as certain compromised individuals – rather than comment on the documented findings of our reports, which ought to set the wheels of accountability in motion – instead imagine expediencies, I officially state that I neither desire to be, nor shall be, a candidate in 2023.”
He added: “The Audit Office is my sole concern.”
The dig may have been directed at Paralimni mayor Theodoros Pirillis, Michaelides’ latest public adversary, after the release of a report last week revealing a litany of irregularities and failures at the municipality.
The auditor-general’s dossier flagged the municipality for not keeping track of construction work within its jurisdiction, wasted money, unlawful interventions on the coast, and possible embezzlement.
Reacting to the report’s publication, Pirillis suggested that Michaelides has a personal vendetta against him, and made an oblique reference to the 2023 presidential elections.
The buzz surrounding Michaelides’ political prospects is not new. Back in December, during an appearance on the state broadcaster CyBC, responding to a question he denied any interest in running for president.
Some newspaper columnists speculate that, given the 53-year-old’s relative popularity and image as a corruption-buster, he may represent Diko’s “ace in the hole” for the 2023 elections.