Several independent presidential candidates on Wednesday jumped on the bandwagon to slam the government over the findings of the auditor office report on the citizenship by investment scheme, which was published on Monday.
According to the report, the investment scheme – axed in November 2020 – remained “fragile until the end” resulting in the loss of millions in public revenue while being implemented in a context of corruption, omission and illegality.
Candidate Marios Eliades said the attorney-general should have already acted to investigate possible criminal responsibilities.
“The attorney-general, as an independent and competent institution, does not have the right to remain silent or inactive in this scandal,” he said.
“If the attorney-general respects himself, and above all the high function he serves, he must immediately order a full investigation.”
According to Eliades, those who participated in making the relevant decisions, gave the green light for a large number of naturalisations while knowing they did not meet the relevant criteria.
“They did not even hesitate to naturalise known criminals and wanted persons, while at the same time, the state lost billions in revenue,” he added.
“The scythe must fall heavily on those who abused the position of power they had or still have. The penalties must be severe and dissuasive.”
Constantinos Christofides, the former UCY rector also issued a statement saying the passport abuses came from the same corrupt party system “that simultaneously enriches and accumulates for its children and grandchildren”.
“Hundreds of millions were lost from the stock exchange scandal, the haircut of deposits, the collapse of Cyprus Airways and the Cooperative Bank but all those on The Hill and the legislators around the Municipal Gardens of Nicosia – the Parliament – did not seem to be particularly concerned,” Christofides said.
“In times of acute crisis they gave public money to members of the global financial elite, exacerbating corruption in Cyprus. Not only are they not ashamed, but they have the audacity to go on the radio and justify themselves. Instead of apologising, they point the finger”.
He said at the same time thousands of young people are unemployed and are emigrating en masse “because they know that to survive in this country you have to be part of the corrupt party system and a child of the party”.
A third independent candidate, Achilleas Demetriades, issued a lengthy written statement asking who could carry out a criminal investigation given that the current attorney-general and his deputy were members of the cabinet which has approved many of the ‘golden passports’. “The file of the case on ‘golden passports’ should not be put away in the drawer and be forgotten,” he said.