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CyBC accused of wasting taxpayers’ money and dodgy hiring practices

Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides has again called on the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) to mend its spendthrift ways, stop wasting taxpayers’ money, and cease trying to bend public sector rules on hiring and promotions.

In a special report on the public broadcaster, the auditor said the CyBC continues expanding its payroll – which forms the lion’s share of its spending – and this at a time when it continues running deficits.

The report said that at the last check, CyBC’s total liabilities exceeded its assets by €131.65 million, while its working capital was in the red to the tune of €7.43 million.

These numbers underscore how the organisation’s ability to continue operating relies on continuing state grants.

In 2020 the number of statutory positions within CyBC rose from 181 to 266, while most of the positions were upgraded/promoted.

According to the government watchdog, the broadcaster is continuing with the irregular practice of upgrading to permanent positions, associates hired on open-ended contracts.

“At a time when 58 journalists/editors are employed at the corporation who are either permanent employees or employees on open-ended contracts, the corporation keeps hiring new associates to the position of journalist/editor, and through non-transparent and unacceptable procedures,” the auditor-general states.

Echoing previous reports, this one too flagged the fact that associates often do not punch in for work. Another issue is that employees who currently hold permanent positions demand that their accrued service – for the time they served as associates on open-ended contracts – be calculated toward their pension benefits. The CyBC obliges and approves their demands.

Concluding, the auditor-general says the CyBC needs to completely turn around its governance culture, “having in mind its obligation to safeguard the interests of the Corporation, but also of the public in general, and to always act within the framework of legality.”

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