Attorney-general Giorgos Savvides has chaired the first meeting of the team coordinating the investigation of corruption, where participants laid out a road map for the handling of such cases.
The team was set up in March this year, with the remit to coordinate among law enforcement agencies the investigation of cases involving corruption.
Taking part in the first brainstorming session were Savvides, deputy attorney-general Savvas Angelides, the head of the Anti-Money Laundering Unit (Mokas), and the head of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department.
During Thursday’s meeting it was agreed that corruption cases would be categorised by type, and investigations sped up.
Savvides demurred when asked by journalists which cases they would give priority to. But he did say that authorities are moving forward with cases relating to the now-defunct citizenship-by-investment scheme.
One such case has already been filed with Nicosia district court. The four defendants are charged with defrauding the Republic and corruption of public officials.
The coordinating team will also cooperate with the independent Anti-Corruption Authority, whose members were appointed in May. It has yet to begin operating.
The authority will examine reports/complaints about malfeasance/misfeasance in the broader public sector, but will also be able to look at private-sector entities where these have dealings with the government.
It can initiate investigations on its own, or after receiving a complaint from a member of the public, or acting under specific instructions from the cabinet.
However the investigative powers it is endowed with are restricted – it cannot for example subpoena records with a court order, as can the police.
Whenever the police have already begun a criminal investigation into a matter, the authority will end its actions into the same matter – if it has already started – or not initiate an action if it has not by then.
Where a police investigation is underway, the authority may seek and receive briefings from the attorney-general.