Staffers at the state broadcaster CyBC have been promoted despite not having a recognised university degree or sufficient foreign language fluency, the audit office charged in a letter that went public on Monday.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, a spokesperson from the office said a letter wanting answers for a host of questionable decisions that have caused CyBC’s costs to skyrocket by 45 per cent, was sent on July 26.

The broadcaster now has 30 days to issue a response, though it has yet to do so.

The audit office charged although there was an agreement in place that any staff should have a degree to be promoted, CyBC’s board completely disregarded that and offered raises and promotions to staff that did not have a recognised degree.

This was described as blatantly illegal by the audit office and completely disregarded the earlier agreement between the CyBC board, unions and the ministries of finance and interior that any staff should have a degree to be promoted.

Daily Politis brought the matter to light, citing data revealing in 2022, open contract workers were costing €9.8 million, while permanent staffers cost €4.3m.

For 2023, the total expenditure for employees amounted to €15m and by 2026, the figure is estimated to exceed €20m, marking a 45 per cent increase in costs.

According to the report, CyBC also failed to properly adhere to requirements for fluency of a foreign language, which is usually English.

For example, one sign language presenter was later made into a director with an open contract, despite her not fulfilling the criteria. Interestingly, her duties involved receiving phone calls for a lunch-hour programme.

Additionally, 16 permanent workers did not meet the requirements for a promotion under the broadcaster’s new hierarchy but were given roles that had been scrapped – amounting to a better pay scale.

The audit office also raised concerns that 23 open contract workers were required to turn to Kysats (Cyprus’ official body recognising higher education qualifications). Of these, 21 were promoted without the CyBC board confirming if they had the necessary qualifications.

The decision, according to the audit office, was made by the chairman of the board.