Following heavy criticism in the last few days about people bring given government jobs they were not qualified for, President Nikos Christodoulides said on Wednesday a bill will be drawn up to deal with the issue of consultant appointments.

Earlier, Christodoulides had called for an emergency meeting between himself and Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides, whose office has published concerns about a slew of appointments to government positions, most recently that of a 19-year-old pegged to be an advisor to the deputy tourism minister.

Issues were also raised in the morning, when Michaelides told Astra radio that the head of the president’s diplomatic office Marilena Raouna was appointed to a role for which there was no confirmed salary as it had not been passed by the parliament.

Raouna has been Christodoulides’ advisor since his time at the foreign ministry, but is not herself a diplomat, according to what Michaelides said. The position she took on was one created towards the end of former president Nicos Anastasiades’ term, for which no salary criteria were submitted for budgeting purposes.

Michaelides claimed that based on this, the appointment of Raouna is illegal, as she was set to receive around €90,000 per annum.

However, after meeting the president on Wednesday, Michaelides said that Raouna would take on the position of advisor to the presidency, which already exists and has been approved.

The audit boss added that the law Christodoulides’ government is set to prepare will establish criteria for advisory appointments to the ministries, presidential palace, and House president, since there currently are no criteria.

According to a report in Politis, the aforementioned positions are filled without publishing an ad in the official gazette and are done behind closed doors, without ever even publishing the names of the people that hold them.

However, for similar positions in parliament, there are seven criteria applicants need to meet to apply for and secure the position: the person must be a citizen of Cyprus, be 21 or older, have a recognised university degree, a clean criminal record signed off by the police chief, have met their military obligations, not related by blood to an MP, and not have been fired from a civil service position in the past.

Michaelides said the new bill will be similar.

“The president expressed his will to immediately create a law based on the law already in place for parliament advisors,” he said.

The law, he added, will be promoted to parliament immediately, for a vote.

“We don’t see any reason they will not pass it,” he said.

Christodoulides’ government has been in hot water over the past few weeks over choices made for civil service jobs, with the deputy government spokeswoman Doxa Komodromou being the first to have been targeted by the audit office.

They had claimed that she took on the position in the government without having first quit from a position she already held at the University of Cyprus.

The next issue arose when Christodoulides appointed Michalis Michael to the public service commission board. According to the CV he had submitted, Michael had degrees from universities known as diploma mills, as people had been able to simply buy the qualifications they wanted.

Next followed the 19-year-old advisor appointed to the deputy tourism ministry, who did not meet the criteria, as the teen did not hold a university degree.

Meanwhile, a further report said that fund of up to €6 million has been budgeted for the wages of advisor to the president, the House president, the ministers and deputy ministers, the government spokesman’s offices, and MPs or parties in parliament.

According to the budget for 2023, Christodoulides has €250,000 for the appointment of his advisors, while the 11 ministers and five deputy ministers have a total budget of €1,011,000.

Certain ministers have less budget, while other key ministries have more funds for advisors.

The ministries of defence, agriculture, justice, energy, labour, foreign affairs, and education all get €62,000, which is also allocated to the deputy ministries of research and innovation, shipping, tourism, welfare, and culture.

Meanwhile, the transport and interior ministries have a budget of €65,000 for advisors, and the health ministry gets €60,000, the smallest.

The largest budget for advisory roles goes to the finance ministry, which has €142,000.

According to the data, the House presidents have all had a budget for advisors, which varies and previously has been measured at €300,000.

However, according to Politis, current House president Annita Demetriou uses a much smaller budget to fill these advisory roles.

The budget for 2023, also foresees funds of €4,508,261 for parliamentary advisors, who number 56 for specific MPs, three for the religious minorities represented in parliament, and 46 for parties in parliament.