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Tales from the Coffeeshop: ‘Jho Low’ the king of the Cypriot Twitterati

Υπουργός Υγείας – Συνέντευξη Τύπου
Unused talents: the MaxFac specialist surgeon and perm sec of the health ministry Christina Yiannaki

CONGRATULATIONS to the unknown Twitterer (though I’m not sure what to call them since the name change) who goes by the name of Jho Low, for his commendable shit-stirring that has shaken the government, prompted Prez Nik II to take action while on holiday, secured a tweet from Odysseas and, most importantly, provided our establishment with some content in a week in which a power cut in Dromoloxia was big news.

Jho Low is a parody X (formerly Twitter) account, named after the Malaysian conman who is on the run after stealing a few billion bucks from Malaysia’s sovereign fund, He was given a Cyprus passport by Nik I in 2015 within a few days of applying when he was under investigation, but our authorities claimed they knew nothing about it.

In the parody account, which has more than 8,000 followers, Jho Low calls himself the godson of Nik I, to whom he refers as tatas (godfather). The description of the account is “Parody account of Cypriot citizen Jho Low. Celebrating my Cypriot heritage, purchased for $6 million. Godson of immaculate and pure ex-President.”

Some of his tweets are very funny and he is also given a lot of dirt about the mighty in Kyproulla which he happily reproduces. He has become the king of the Cypriot Twitterati, but by far his biggest achievement is that nobody knows who he is.

 

IN THE LAST couple of weeks, Jho has been questioning the authenticity of the qualifications of the health ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Christina Yiannaki and making fun of her inability to speak English, which is a requirement for the job of perm sec but ignored when she got the top public parasite job at the ministry.

He claims that whenever there are foreign guests at the ministry, Dr Yiannaki makes an excuse in very poor English and leaves. Apparently, the public service commission, which approved her promotion to perm sec, was satisfied with her English skills given that she received a “postgraduate diploma” in management from the Mediterranean Institute of Management.

Dr Yiannaki, according to her CV posted on the ministry website, qualified as a dentist at the Cairo University’s Faculty of Oral and Dental Medicine in 1982 and was registered as a dentist in Kyproulla the following year. In 1994 she obtained the title ‘specialist maxillofacial (Maxfac) surgeon,’ after exams by the Central Council of Health of the district of Athens (recognised by the Dental Council of Cyprus).

Where she trained to become not just an ordinary Maxfac surgeon, but a ‘specialist’ surgeon, she did not say. Can any old dentist sit exams and acquire this title from some council? I was under the impression university hospitals bestow such titles after years of practical training and exams.

 

ALTHOUGH she obtained the specialist MaxFac surgeon title and could be called a doctor, Dr Yiannaki seems to have avoided using these specialist skills while working at the state dental services.

In correspondence made public by Jho Low, in 2008 the head of the dental services asked her to carry out an operation, but instead she went to a primary school to carry out routine checks on children’s teeth. She was subsequently asked to carry out two routine operations, but again refused, says the letter.

The head of the dental service was then considering putting Dr Yiannaki in charge of the MaxFac clinic at the Nicosia general hospital, but wondered if she was up to the job as she refused to practise her MaxFac surgery skills.

Dr Yiannaki was outraged that her boss wanted her to carry out the oral surgery for which she had qualified and got a lawyer to write him an aggressive letter accusing him of hostility and vindictiveness among other things for asking her to carry out oral surgery, when there were “two other excellent MaxFac surgeons at the clinic who could and must be utilised”.

The lawyer, Ionas Nicolaou, closed the letter by telling the head of the dental services to place someone else in charge of the MaxFac clinic, as this was no job for a specialist MaxFac surgeon, who would be better utilised inspecting schoolchildren’s teeth.

 

DESPITE refusing to follow her boss’ orders, the following year Dr Yiannaki was rewarded by being made head of the dental services. The specialist MaxFac surgeon title she obtained must have helped in this regard.

And in 2015 she was promoted to perm sec at the health ministry, a move that stank of rusfeti. Apart from having the support of her lawyer, who was justice minister at the time, she also enjoyed the patronage of Nik I.

As perm sec, Dr Yiannaki became very popular as she was in charge of arranging for patients to be sent abroad for medical treatment. She satisfied all such requests made by politicians and other big shots in our society.

As a result of this dispensing of favours she became close friends with Nik I’s better half, Andri, and often accompanied her on official trips abroad. This companionship suited Nik as it meant Andri would not be bothering him when abroad.

Incidentally, the current First Lady of Kyproulla also used the services of Dr Yiannaki (not for MaxFac surgery) during the election campaign and was never let down.

 

odysseas michaelides and yiannaki 960x640
The deity-general Odysseas sprang to Yiannaki’s defence last week

THE ABILITY to satisfy members of our elite made Dr Yiannaki untouchable, even deity-general Odysseas coming to her defence last week.

Ody tweeted that as many had urged the audit office to comment on the claims of the “parody account which leaks filth and stench”, he reported that he had carried out a check of Dr Yiannaki’s qualifications in June 2021, “and from the examination of original certificates of her academic and other qualifications, no indication of their possible forgery emerged.”

His support did not end there. He clarified that sending patients abroad “required the opinion of the medical council and cannot be done within Gesy”. Ody has confirmed Dr Yiannaki’s innocence, but I bet he would not let her operate on his mouth if she were the last MaxFac surgeon left in Kyproulla.

 

ONLY one politician took advantage of Jho Low’s allegations to have a public dig at the specialist MaxFac surgeon – her boss, the health minister Dr Popi Kanari, who showed an admirable level of viciousness towards her perm sec.

There is bad blood between the two women, Dr Kanari (a PhD holder), having also applied for the job of perm sec in 2015 and losing out to Dr Yiannaki. An appeal against the decision was rejected and must have left Dr Kanari holding a grudge.

Twice she has written to her perm sec in the last week or so urging her to answer the parody account for the good of the ministry, the hypocrisy detector hitting red. “When the criticism takes on such dimensions that threaten the very operation and prestige of a whole ministry…. I consider it my obligation to protect its prestige and credibility..” she wrote.

“Honestly, your refusal to bring everything to the light grieves me…What do you have to be afraid of?” There is more nastiness presented as sincere concern in the letter, showing that hell hath no fury like a woman missing out on promotion.

 

PREZ NIK II is very cross with both women said Phil, and he planned to call them to his office for showdown talks when he returns from his holiday. Presidential under-secretary Irini Piki tried to act as peacemaker in his absence but failed spectacularly.

Apart from informing Phil about what he planned to do when he returns from holiday, the prez reportedly also gave orders to the police to try to close down the Jho Low account. The Electronic Crime department of the police had written to X (Twitter) asking for the closing of the account on the grounds that it was violating Cyprus legislation but the request was turned down.

Politis reported on Saturday that the Prez had repeatedly called the chief of police demanding the account be closed. He has a nerve considering he has used fake accounts to throw dirt at his opponents and critics, especially during the election campaign.

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL family holiday in Greece did not get off to a good start, with Prez Nik being criticised for leaving the country “while Cyprus is burning”. He had left while the fire in hilly areas of the Limassol district was raging, Politis lambasting him in a front page article for leaving while “Cyprus faced the worst fire of the year, which endangered whole villages”.

We subsequently learned that while on holiday in Evia, the devout prez had gone on a pilgrimage to the church/monastery of Osios Ioannis of Rossos, as a church website posted a picture of him and a priest standing next to an icon. Although there was no official information about the visit, I am certain that while at the church he prayed for the end of the fire in Cyprus and for Popi and Christina to kiss and make up. And for a solution of the Cyprob, I hope.

 

SPEAKING of fires, the spokesman of the fire service, Andreas Kettis has decided to go on holiday at the peak of the fire season until August 23. Hopefully he will be close to a church so he can pray for no fires in his absence.

So, if there are any new fires we will have to rely on his replacement, who has written to newspapers to let them know that she will provide us with “basic briefing”. Presumably, we will get the detailed briefing on a fire when Kettis returns from holiday.

 

I WOULD like to offer my sincere thanks and gratitude to Jho Low, whoever he is, for offering us much needed content in a week that was dead for news.

 

 

 

 

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