An interior ministry proposal to tackle land and businesses in Larnaca’s Mackenzie area raised eyebrows during Tuesday’s House refugee committee, after the auditor general said the government cannot turn a blind eye to the letter of the law.

Submitted by the interior ministry, the action plan details an effective way to manage the property in the heart of Larnaca’s entertainment district, and modernize the area.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou, described the plan “is not ideal as per the letter of the law but is the best under the circumstances.”

Auditor general Odysseas Michaelides said it appeared many entertainment venues were not submitting their income assessment forms.

“Certain owners made amendments that we are now being called to legalise” he told deputies.

Michaelides specified that leasing to non-refugees is not allowed and that by definition, the law was being violated.

“No state service should be discussing such relaxations unless the law changes.”

Committee chairman and Akel MP Nikos Kettiros said the interior minister’s efforts were understandable but the concerns put forth by the auditor general also carried weight.

Responding to a question about the provisions of the plan, he said that “instead of restoring legality, it seeks to legalise illegality, that is, the person who sublets the sub-let”.

“New rents will be imposed without a tender process. For the three original tenants of the sites, the rent will be 30 per cent of the market rent,” he explained.