Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday insisted that the appointment of three members to the Gaming & Casino Supervision Commission – the public body exercising oversight over the casinos – be postponed until after the presidential elections due to an alleged conflict of interest concerning one of the new appointees.

The matter concerns Christodoulos Angastiniotis, who currently serves as head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Keve).

Critics say that because Melco – the company licensed to run the casinos – is also a ‘member’ of Keve that creates a potential conflict of interest should he join the body that supervises the casinos.

The Gaming & Casino Supervision Commission consists of seven members: three executives and four ordinary members. The term of three of the members is set to expire on February 5 – coinciding with the date of the presidential elections.

Angastiniotis is among the three people who the cabinet decided to appoint in late November. All members on the Commission serve four-year terms.

But because of the potential conflict of interest issue, MPs – whose approval is needed for appointments to the boards of public bodies – say the appointment should be delayed until after February 5. This, they argue, would avoid a potentially irregular appointment – meaning Angastiniotis.

An irregular appointment would then cast into doubt the legitimacy of any subsequent decisions made by the Commission.

Legislators wrote to the junior ministry for tourism, responsible for the casinos, asking if the appointments in question can be delayed, and whether the Commission can operate legally with just four members.

According to what was heard at the House commerce committee on Tuesday – which convened in an extraordinary session to discuss the matter – the ministry’s feedback did not provide a clear-cut answer.

MPs also said that it was a “matter of principle” that the government avoid appointing people to public bodies on the eve of elections.

Meanwhile speaking to local media, Angastiniotis brushed aside the notion of any conflict of interest.

He said that, contrary to what some MPs claim, Keve does not have ‘members’ per se. As such, Melco is not a member of Keve.

Neither is Melco listed as a donor to Keve, he added.