Cyprus Mail

Akamas works report expected next week, says agriculture minister

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Widened roads and a retaining wall in the Akamas

A report on the works in Akamas will be ready next week, Agriculture Minister Petros Xenophontos said on Wednesday.

Speaking after a cabinet session, the minister said that the report requested on the works in Akamas, after it emerged that potential violations may have occurred, will be ready by Monday.

He added that he would not comment any further, as it could impede the administrative investigation into the matter.

Last week, Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides slammed the agriculture ministry’s choice of investigator, as the individual is an officer seconded from the forestry department, which had previously claimed there were no deviations in the works.

He added that also during his site visit to the area, aside from the road widening violations, there was also a new road created from Lara beach, which was also a violation.

Also last week, the Environment Department and the Game Fund both officially acknowledged that that there had been violations, and this was after the audit service, who visited the area last week agreed.

However, they have been contradicted by other state agencies including the Forestry Department and interior minister.

On Wednesday, after announcing the complete stoppage in the works, Cyfield’s decision was welcomed by the members of the House environment committee and the other attendees, which included members of the agriculture ministry, the forestry department, the interior ministry and the environmental groups.

Speaking at the committee meeting, Xenophontos said he had “expressed concerns” at a meeting held last Friday at the Athalassa environmental centre and added that he was “not satisfied with what I saw or heard”.

He went on to say that the freeze in work would be used “to consider the issue and re-evaluate the project, as well as other projects … in the area of Akamas”.

Additionally, he told the committee that he had ordered an investigation to be carried out by the ministry’s internal audit officer to establish whether or not a special ecological assessment had been prepared and submitted in the appropriate fashion.

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