A court of labour disputes ruled on Friday that four associates hand-picked by former President Nicos Anastasiades, will remain in the public service as permanent staff.

According to the audit service, the four have been paid much more than they should be, while some of them do not even have a university degree.

“Today’s court decision will burden the taxpayer for the next few decades.”

The case has been in court for around six months, after Akel MP Irene Charalambidou tried to reverse the former president’s efforts to secure their employment status as indefinite by amending the 2022 state budget in parliament.

Court ruled the move was unconstitutional.

One of the associates is Anastasiades’ niece, who has since been transferred to the deputy ministry of tourism, as she requested, according to Politis.

All four associates were hired in 2013 when Anastasiades was elected for his first term as president, though at the time they were contract workers. During their time at the presidential palace, their status changed to permanent employees.

Charalambidou sought to reverse the move by amending the 2022 state budget, describing their changing status as permanent staffers as a provocative and an outrageous move.

As a result, the four associates took the case to the labour disputes court citing the matter as a gross violation of the constitution. The court on Friday ruled they could continue with their permanent status.

Their lawyer Achilleas Emilianides told CNA the court decision was clear that parliament’s decision violated the constitution and European law. As such the four associates will remain at their posts without the possibility of ever getting fired, he said.

Politis cited sources saying it was the first time where a political appointment turned into a permanent civil service job.

The report detailed Anastasiades’ niece today earns a gross salary of €3,076 per month, while another associate who handled his social media accounts receives €2,771. She has since been transferred to the Press and Information Office.

Also, two secretaries he hired have a monthly wage of €2,580 and work at the finance ministry at the administration and personnel departments. They were formerly his private secretaries when he was at Disy.

According to the audit service, the 2023 budget included the same provision seeking to scrap the employment of the four associates.

“Effectively, four people who were appointed by the former president with clearly political criteria such as his relatives or partners in a political party, were led through this political appointment to become permanent staffers for the next 10, 20 or 30 years.”