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Police silent on Anastasiades’ alleged possession of state-owned pistols (Updated)

anastasiades
Former President Nicos Anastasiades

Police on Friday had no comment on reports that former President Nicos Anastasiades has held on to two pistols that may be owned by the state.

The issue emerged from an audit office report on the police published on Thursday, wherein it said that it had asked to be provided with information by police on individuals that have been given licences to own a firearm.

In Cyprus, people are allowed to own guns only if the police and cabinet approve the matter.

After the report was published, it emerged in Philenews that the former President owned two pistols, one licenced to him in 2004 and one that had been given as a gift to from King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2018.

Although the report did not name Anastasiades, the audit office said that when they have asked for names of the individuals that have guns, police have repeatedly denied, most recently in September 2023.

Police, according to the audit office, have said that they can only provide the registration number of the firearms, but not the names of the individuals who have been pegged to be people in the public sphere.

“Due to the seriousness of the matter of the obstruction of our office’s audit on the assets of the Republic, as well as indications of abuse of power concerning a specific case of granting two pistols to the same person, we informed the anti-corruption authority in our letter dated 28/9/2023, which we also communicated to the office of the president of the Republic,” the report said.

Regarding the first instance in which Anastasiades was given a gun, according to Philenews it occurred back in April 2004. The security committee of the police gave the green light in an application he filed to be able to hold a firearm, after a threat had been made on his life and that of his family earlier in that year.

Anastasiades was granted permission to own a firearm, receiving a USP 9mm and 25 rounds. However, similar to most firearms licenses, there was no specified time limit for which he could retain the pistol.

The second instance occurred when Anastasiades received a JAWS 9mm as a gift from the King of Jordan in 2018.

The issue with the latter, as per the audit office report, is that it was given to Anastasiades under his title of President of the Republic, making it state property rather than personal property.

Anastasiades has kept mum about the issue when asked to comment on the guns.

Asked to comment on the matter on Friday, police spokesman Christos Andreou said that he personally did not know anything about the matter, as it is confidential.

Meanwhile, the report also notes the disappearance of 13 police firearms from the force’s storage over the years.

Following the extension of the audit to data kept in the warehouse department at police HQ, it was discovered that a total of 13 service pistols had been “lost or stolen by members of the police, on a pan-Cypriot scale.” One of them was found after being used in a criminal offense in Larnaca.

The report also mentions four other stolen guns, two of which ended up in the possession of police officers in the north after two Greek Cypriot officers were stopped at a border crossing and had their guns confiscated.

One of the remaining two guns was stolen from a police vehicle and found years later.

The other pistol, charged to the police warehouse, went missing during an annual shooting exercise.

After investigation by the criminal investigation department, the specific case was classified as “unsolvable,” and the culprits, two officers and a constable, who failed to conduct sufficient investigations, were simply reprimanded, the report said.

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