Cyprus Mail

Audit office contacts EU bodies over interconnector project

Map of the route of the EuroAsia interconnector system

The audit office has written to EU bodies as well as Cypriot officials raising concerns over the interconnector project, it emerged on Friday.

The letter details a lack of transparency on how a private investor managed to take on a project of strategic importance worth €2 billion, according to a report in Philenews.

Addressed to the EU Commission, the European Confederation of Internal Auditors and the Hellenic court of audit due to Greece’s potential involvement in the project, the audit office also included Energy Minister George Panastasiou in the recipients, where questions were raised over the suitability of a private investor implementing the project.

Last month, the spokesman for the office since funds were being earmarked for the project from the Recovery and Resilience Fund, the audit office has a duty to evaluate and monitor this activity, as it concerns taxpayer money.

According to Friday’s report, the energy ministry is also going to appoint a global firm specializing in energy matters, to carry out a study for the Interconnector’s technical and economic viability.

Time is running out for the government as the project’s costs have increased far more than were initially anticipated, suggesting the state may have to step in.

Trade unions representing workers in the Electricity Authority of Cyprus warned that Cypriot taxpayers may end up getting saddled with even higher electricity bills, suggesting it now looked like the Cypriot state would become involved in what was until now an exclusively private project.

Despite concerns, the backer insists the project remains on track.

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