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Soldiers assigned postings based on family connections Audit Office says

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The assignment of army conscripts to ‘easy’ posts appears to be based not on merit, but rather on a soldier’s family background and connections, the auditor-general said in a report released Monday.

In the dossier, the auditor-general said his office found that no objective criteria exist regarding the selection of soldiers when it comes to these positions.

The positions in question are regarded as by far the easiest in the service – desk jobs at the defence ministry or the National Guard HQ, or being assigned to the Officers Club in Nicosia.

The Audit Office called on the military to introduce specific and explicit criteria for these assignments.

Having investigated the profile of the conscripts in question, the Audit Office found that 21 per cent of them had at least one parent on an annual income over €100,000. The data concern the year 2022.

Also, 38 per cent of these soldiers had graduated from a private high school – something that also pointed to the family being well-off. The Audit Office contrasted this percentage to the fact that just 25 per cent of secondary school graduates attend private schools.

The report also noted that just one of the soldiers in question had a family on Guaranteed Minimum Income.

It further said that 13 of the conscripts in question had a parent working in either the army or the defence ministry. Three others were children of state officials, and two happened to be brothers who served in the same unit – although they did their stint at different time periods.

According to the auditor-general’s findings, each year about 24 persons serve at the Officers Club. Of these, seven are assigned to the canteen, and the rest to the club’s restaurant.

More often than not, those assigned to the canteen stay there for the duration of their army stint.

It additionally transpired that those serving at the Officers Club got more night-time passes than conscripts elsewhere. And they carried out fewer guard duties than the average conscript.

Responding to these findings – which point to uneven treatment – the commander of the National Guard said he would see to it that from now on the number of passes and the number of guard duties be spelled out for conscripts serving in these positions.

The auditor-general recommends that these easy positions be assigned to conscripts with a disability.

 

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