MPs on Tuesday were considering the approval of a €345,000 supplementary budget to compensate an American citizen of Turkish Cypriot origin for loss of use of his property where a petrol station was established.
Taxpayers will bear the cost of the misuse of the man’s property for ten years as the case has been pending since 2013.
During the discussion at the House refugee committee, MPs raised concerns regarding the handling of the case and whether there are more cases with similar developments in the future.
The committee’s chairman, Akel MP Nikos Kettiros, said a Cyprus court with the agreement of the legal service decided on the amount in question. He explained that the compensation relates to real estate in Limassol, which was transferred to the owner by his father in 1973.
However, the case has been pending since 2013, Kettiros said. The decision to pay the amount was issued in 2023, he said, while the supplementary state budget is yet to be approved to proceed with the payment.
He added that the committee will re-examine the issue at their next meeting, as MPs asked for clarification on the handling of the case so that party groups can take a comprehensive position.
“It is a concern whether there are other such cases, something that the service must investigate to know how many and what these cases are,” the chairman said, noting that there were refugees residing in such plots.
He also added that the Turkish Cypriot Property Management Service should be concerned “because since 2013 they have been holding in the legal service an exemplary case, which should have been settled without ten years having passed and this citizen is demanding compensation which reaches €345,000.”
“If the agreement had been made earlier, the amount would have been much lower”.
“The taxpaying citizen will be asked to pay a very large amount, because some people for ten years kept the hot potato and waited to give it to the next person to manage it,” Kettiros said.
But other MPs seem to disagree with the payment of such compensation.
“These agreements made are a bit objectionable and we will not approve such a budget,” Diko MP, Zacharias Koulias said.
He said that the law provides how to issue title deeds and the court should not have instructed the state to issue separate title deeds for the American’s shares. What is more, Koulias said, the company who erected a petrol station on the plot had paid the state rents of €254,000, which was less than the amount decided as compensation.