The Cyprus Olympic Committee (KOE) is currently under investigation for squandering public money. The Committee for Ethics and Protection of Sport is expected to give its findings on an investigation of an unnamed member of the executive committee of KOE in connection with corruption and conflict of interest. The investigation was undertaken in July.

Meanwhile, the auditor-general said he had received reports of squandering of public money by the executive committee on the mission that attended the Games of the Small States of Europe in Malta last May. There were 280 people in the mission and 187 were participating athletes.

The audit office received the complaints last August and wrote to the education ministry seeking explanations but received no response. This was because the ministry had sought explanations from KΟΕ, but despite two reminders, had only received a response on Monday, two days before the House institutions committee was to discuss the goings-on at the committee.

The committee on Wednesday looked at complaints of mismanagement made by three of the 12 members of the executive council of KΟΕ, one of whom is the secretary. The three claimed that they had been sidelined and bullied by the other nine members, that no minutes of the executive council’s meetings were taken, and that the president would arrange sponsorship deals without informing the council. The members of the sports ethics committee attending the meeting, said they would investigate these allegations.

In short, the Cyprus Olympic Committee, which should be setting the good example in sport administration, is being run like in a slapdash manner by the executive council, the president of which, Giorgos Chrysostomou, is ultimately responsible. He snubbed the House committee’s invitation to attend Wednesday’s meeting, asking that it was put off by a week. Such a show of arrogance is to be expected from a president that does not deem it necessary for proper minutes to be taken at the executive council’s meetings.

This alone should raise suspicions. KOE is not a family business, but an entity that receives up to €1 million from the taxpayer every year and even more in sponsorships from private business. Could there be a more compelling reason for the executive council do everything by the book? Keeping minutes of meetings is a basic requirement for any properly run organisation, even more so for an organisation handling public money. Should we mention the council member who is under investigation for having turned a sports federation, affiliated to KOE, into something akin to a family business?

We hope the sports ethics committee will carry out thorough investigations of the practices followed by the executive council and publish its findings. Only by exposing irregular dealings could pressure be applied on people who act like they are a law unto themselves, showing total disregard for good practices and the taxpayer’s money.