MPs from the House ethics committee are calling on the government and wider public sector authorities to clamp down on employees who are engaged in private businesses without the requisite permission of the state.
Greens MP Alexandra Attalides, speaking after a meeting of the committee on Wednesday said she raised the issue because it concerned corruption. “That is why the committee requested information from the ministries and the services of the wider public sector,” she said. “The law should apply to everyone without exception.”
According to a confidential report sent by the audit office to the parliament on April 12, almost 5,000 civil servants and public service employees are illegally engaged in private-sector businesses as shareholders, directors or company secretaries.
The document, the contents of which were published in the media late last month, said some 3,700 civil servants plus another 1,200 or so employees in semi-government bodies, local authorities, police, the fire service and state universities were engaged in the private sector despite the possibility of conflict of interest.
Public sector employees are obliged to declare their private interests and obtain permission for such activities from the finance ministry or in the case of the military, from the defence ministry to participate in private legal entities.
In detail, out of the 8,590 employees in 71 organisations in the wider public sector, in which the relevant permission is required, 535 employees were identified (6.23 per cent) who, based on their identity number, appear to hold shares in one or more private companies.
Also, 321 employees (3.74 per cent), were found to be managers and 301 employees 3.5 per cent) are listed as company secretaries.
The report also included the EAC, Cyta the University of Cyprus, Tepak and the Health Insurance Organisation plus several municipalities.
The audit office has informed competent bodies to proceed with their own actions, within the framework of the legislation.