The new sports stadium in Limassol will cost taxpayers almost triple what it was initially priced at, MPs heard on Thursday.
At the House watchdog committee, Marios Petrides of the Audit Office said the stadium is now estimated to cost €38 million – not including the €10 million for building access roads around it.
He attributed the budget overrun to a slapdash initial study, but also changes in provisions added along the way that caused the price to jump.
Petrides said the criteria were violated by the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) itself. For example, initially the terms did not provide for paying for ‘luxuries’ inside the stadium – such as all the bleaches having covers, which is now the case.
Responding to MPs’ queries, the official said the initial provision in KOA’s budget stood at €17 million. Next a tender was declared for €28.3 million, with the project eventually awarded for €31.3 million due to the lack of competition.
The most recent assessment places the final cost at €38 million. And a road network around the stadium will add another €10 million – for a grand total of €48 million.
KOA chairman Andreas Michaelides rejected the notion that public moneys have been wasted. He said KOA is ready to open its books to the Audit Office. Should any misappropriation of taxpayer funds be established through such an audit, he said, KOA “will be ruthless.”
However the ruling party Disy pushed back at the allegations of embezzlement of public moneys. Disy MP Nicos Sykas said the initial amount of €15 million cited by some, does not relate to an official number on paper, but rather is taken from verbal remarks made by the government spokesman back in 2014.
As such, Sykas said, some quarters were trying to misrepresent the situation and portray it as a scandal.
The stadium, where construction is at an advanced stage, will reportedly be commissioned in May of this year.
The facility is designed for 13 thousand seats – although recent reports suggested capacity could end up at 11,000 instead.
The stadium is being erected in Kolossi. It will have a roof covering 100 per cent of the seats, four changing rooms, media rooms, VIP seats, closed rooms for officials and press conferences, a media work area, special seats for disabled people, a modern TV and radio commentator system as well as TV studio, cafe-canteens, shops and auxiliary fields.
It will be able to host European matches of the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League.