Independent presidential candidate Nikos Christodoulides on Thursday added his signature to the list alongside his rivals, agreeing to a proposal to scrutinise the wealth of politically exposed persons (PEPs).
“Without hesitation, Mr Nikos Christodoulides has joined the presidential candidates, who have publicly announced that they are unconditionally committed to adopt and implement the Pissarides-Panayiotides-Syrimis proposal on the capital statements of politically exposed persons (PEPs), as from 1 January 2023,” a statement by the group Pothen Esches Cyprus said.
The seven candidates who have already adopted the proposal are: Averof Neophytou, Andreas Mavroyiannis, Achilleas Demetriades, Georgios Colocassides, Constantinos Christofides, Marios Eliades and Christodoulos Protopapas.
The “Pothen Esches or Where did you get it from?” proposal is the brainchild of Nobel Prize-winning economist Christoforos Pissarides and two reputable, experienced and independent certified public accountants, Christos Panayiotides and Nicos Syrimis.
Many see the current legislation on officials’ asset declarations as laughable, as it does not compel politicians to disclose all their assets nor explain where they came from. Often the statements are filled out by hand, making them illegible.
Critics point out the declarations as submitted are un-auditable and propose that the checking be outsourced to professionals. As it stands, the checking is done by MPs who – critics say – are either unqualified to perform such a task, but also unlikely to report a colleague in the unlikely event they spot an irregularity.
In 2021, the government pledged to set up a ‘National Service of Integrity’ that will look at the capital statements of the president, ministers, deputies, state officials as well as those of their spouses and children. Meanwhile the House ethics committee said it would work on drafting a legislative proposal on the matter.
Scant progress has been made on either front.
The adopted proposal is available on the internet at https://www.pothen-esches-cyprus.com.