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President is not hiding anything, says spokesman

ΠτΔ – Πρόεδρος του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοιν

The president is not hiding anything, Government Spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said on Friday answering criticism of him over the controversial issue of multiple pensions for state officials.

President Nikos Christodoulides was called out on Tuesday for failing to make public the details of an early pension he receives on top of his salary.

He was also reproved for not voluntarily foregoing the pension, as others were reported to have done.

“It is important to clarify that no procedure exists for foregoing the pension,” Letymbiotis said, speaking to state broadcaster CyBC.

“In the past such a procedure existed and some ministers voluntarily donated their pensions to certain bodies,” he added.

He added that the issue did not involve only the president but was subject to a general review of terms which will be carried out at a ministry of finance meeting in two weeks’ time.

Proposals on the issue have already been submitted to Parliament to be discussed.

“The executive will discuss these provisions which have been outstanding for years so that this time regulation will be made in line with the constitution,” Letymbiotis said.

In response to the fact that former president Nicos Anastasiades had also forgone his early pension, Letymbiotis said, “the financial circumstances and capabilities of each president are different and this must be respected.

“No special arrangements of any sort have been made for the president and the president himself has expressed the will towards regulation of multiple pensions and initiated discussions with legal services over the matter.”

Asked why the president did not declare the pension on his required capital statement (pothen esches), Letymbiotis argued that this was an incorrect presentation of the facts.

“The president declared all his income sources, taxes [and] assets. […] Statements of financial position are checked by the competent committee and the house of representatives to ensure their legal correctness,” he said.

The spokesman maintained that the president’s incomes are well-known and nothing had been concealed by design, adding statements submitted by other officials were of similar nature.

The agenda of the House committee meeting on state officials’ pensions in two weeks’ time has been focused on discussion of three bills that have been knocking around since 2016, which could see the age that state officials receive pensions raised to 63, along with other adjustments for civil service members who subsequently take on government roles.

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