Cyprus Mail

Audit office claims obstruction in investment programme probe

The audit office has accused the government of obstructing its efforts to investigate the Cyprus investment programme, stating that the interior ministry is withholding vital information.

The audit office on Wednesday detailed that a procedure which should have only taken a few hours has instead been dragged out for about six weeks – with the ministry citing the information requested as sensitive.

It further stated that it wishes to pass on its report into the investment programme to the attorney general and the recently established anti-corruption authority.

But the audit office said that since its findings are linked to the providers of the investment applications – law and audit firms – then they must be given a full list of who handled these applications and how many.

The audit office detailed that it contacted the interior ministry on September 2 but was told that the director must approve such a handover.

Despite repeated requests to the ministry, the audit office said, the information was not provided. The office subsequently reminded the ministry’s director of the law which prohibits an individual from preventing a person of passing on information requested by the auditor general.

In turn, the ministry’s director replied on Monday that the list in question contains sensitive information whose confidentiality must be preserved. As such, the attorney general’s opinion has been called upon and until then will not provide the information.

Following the audit office’s public complaint, the ministry issued its own statement – saying that it has requested the opinion of the legal services as to the proper handover and handling of the information requested.

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