Justice Minister Anna Procopiou requested the establishment of a committee to investigate possible disciplinary offences against the former drugs squad, Ykan, chief, Michalis Katsounotos, who had corruption allegations brought against him by former prisons director Anna Aristotelous.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, after the investigation into the matter by the assistant chief of police was completed, the minister in her letter, as provided by legislation, referred the matter to the attorney-general’s office and requested the establishment of a committee.

This committee is independent and has three members and consists specifically of one member of the attorney-general’s office, one of the public service commission (Edy) and one member from the police, all higher ranking than Katsountos.

The attorney-general’s office has already appointed its own member and appointments are pending from the police and Edy.

The committee will prepare a conclusion which is binding. There is no timetable for the completion of this investigation.

Back in December 2022, the attorney-general George Savvides and his deputy Savvas Angelides found there had been no evidence to support corruption claims against Katsounotos, after he was accused of colluding with a convict in the central prisons.

Instead, Katsounotos was trying to obtain information as part of his job and tried to uncover potential offences carried out by members of the prison service, a joint statement from the AG George Savvides and his deputy AG Savvas Angelides outlined.

“Neither [investigator] Mr Emilianides nor the legal service that studied the evidence, found there was evidence of corruption against Mr Katsounotos, in the sense that he may have tried to gain something out of the situation.”

Rather, the investigation suggests he may have abused his authority and may have committed the offence of conspiracy. Both offences carry a two-year prison term and / or a fine up to €2,562 but there is no public interest in beginning a criminal prosecution against him, the legal service determined.

Nonetheless, Katsounotos’ actions could be examined in a disciplinary case in the way he communicated with the convict and carried out his job. The legal service will send the material to the appropriate authority to decide whether disciplinary measures against him would be justified.

The legal service added that it felt the need to clarify the situation after numerous media reports. Independent investigator Achilleas Emilianides was appointed to examine the case after prison director Anna Aristotelous went public in June, with her charge that Katsounotos had been colluding with an inmate to try and secure damaging footage of both her and her assistant.