The fight against corruption requires effective monitoring by the supervisory authorities, parliaments and the media, as well as cooperation between them, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said on Saturday.

He was speaking in the context of a conference held by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (Osce PA) entitled ‘Combatting Corruption, Defending Democracy’.

The third and final session of the conference focused on the contribution of independent institutions and the media to preventing and combating corruption and was introduced by former Attorney-general Costas Clerides.

Michaelides was the final speaker at the conference.

He said that his office had attempted to investigate the citizenship by investment scheme, but was faced with delays and limited access to the data it requested as the government refused to provide access to information. Their findings were confirmed by the Al Jazeera documentary.

The auditor-general said that following his report on the matter, there were threats of his dismissal, accusing him of misconduct, while the media reported that he would be prosecuted.

He noted that an auditor’s job was not to prevent corruption, but to detect any faults that they are then tasked with reporting to parliament.

He also stressed the importance of the media in conveying the function of this role to the public.

In her closing remarks, moderator Irene Charalambides, Osce PA vice-president and special representative on fighting corruption, said that independent institutions were very important “and we have to guard them”.

“People cannot be appointed by one person because they will then feel obliged to them,” she added. “We have to guard the media with legislation to prohibit interventions in their work,” she said, adding that a change of culture, education and fairness were necessary.

Margareta Cederfelt, the President of the Osce PA said that since corruption was globalised, multilateral cooperation to fight it is most important.