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House postpones vote on anti-corruption authority and lobbying bills

ÏËÏÌÅËÅÉÁ ÂÏÕËÇÓ – ÊÑÁÔÉÊÏÓ ÐÑÏÛÐÏËÏÃÉÓÌÏÓ 2021
File photo: CNA

Parliament on Thursday postponed voting on two items of legislation – the first creating an anti-corruption authority, the second regulating lobbying – but will go ahead with the vote next week.

Nicos Tornaritis, chair of the House legal affairs committee, said the parliament services did not meet the Thursday deadline for preparing the final drafts of the bills due to a number of amendments tabled.

He said he was confident that at least the anti-corruption authority bill would be ready by the next session of the plenary. Ahead of that, the parliamentary committee will convene in a special session scheduled for Monday, February 14; the attorney-general and the justice minister will be attending.

The bill establishing the anti-corruption authority, under discussion for four years, is one of a three-pronged approach to stamping out corruption. The other two relate to the protection of whistleblowers, which passed into law last month, while discussions are still ongoing on the third anti-corruption arm – transparency in public decision making.

The anti-corruption authority will be able to refer possible disciplinary offences to the relevant body. If it finds that a criminal offence may have been committed, then it will submit a report to the attorney-general.

The lobbying bill provides that state and elected officials must declare their contacts along with minutes of what was discussed.

It exempts meetings with employers and unions provided they concern work conditions. Only individuals will register and not companies, which are registered on other records.

Passage of the two bills is a prerequisite for the disbursement of the first tranche of funds (€97 million) from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Thursday’s postponement is the fourth in a series, as enactment should have taken place before the end of 2021.

 

 

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