Parliament will very soon hold hearings on what some have dubbed a “mega scandal” – the dropping of disciplinary proceedings against contractors previously implicated in corruption and bribery – an MP said on Thursday.

Akel’s Irini Charalambidou – who sits on the House ethics committee – confirmed to the Cyprus Mail she plans to table the matter for discussion “imminently”.

“This cannot stand,” she added.

Although the MP declined to comment on who would be summoned to the committee, there’s a good chance that the Contractors Council will be there.

The council – the body that registers and exercises oversight on contractors – has been caught in the eye of the storm, after it emerged days ago that the current board decided to terminate disciplinary proceedings against companies implicated in the Paphos sewerage board (Sapa) affair.

That affair had gone to trial, and in February 2015 Paphos criminal court handed down sentences to the town’s mayor and a number of municipal councillors, having them found guilty of taking bribes.

During the trial, officials from at least two construction and engineering companies stated on the record and under oath they had greased politicians and public officials in order to land contracts with the Paphos sewerage board.

Former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas and the other defendants had collectively received around €1 million in kickbacks, often handed in suitcases during clandestine meetings held either at the Paphos municipality or the Hilton hotel in Nicosia.

Medcon and Nemesis were two of the contractors implicated. Neither the companies nor their officials were sentenced, having got immunity in return for testifying for the prosecution.

Medcon is currently still listed with the Contractors Council. Its licence is valid, and the company has ‘A’ status – meaning it can bid for a public works contract regardless of size.

Nemesis is no longer listed on the council’s registry under that name.

In July 2016, following the trial and the convictions, the Contractors Council itself initiated a disciplinary probe against the companies implicated in the Sapa scandal.

Deletion from the council’s registry is the maximum sanction the entity can impose on contractors. In such a case, a contractor loses their license.

But eight years on, and four different boards having come and gone, the council did not get around to completing the disciplinary probe.

In January of this year, the council had told parliament that the results of their investigation would come out by the end of the month.

Instead, in early February the new board of the Contractors Council announced abruptly it was dropping the probe altogether. For its decision, the body cited the passage of time, and that pursuing the case eight years on would constitute an “abuse of process”, adversely impacting the legal rights of the companies.

Effectively this means the implicated companies were let off the hook.

But Akel’s Charalambidou is having none of it. In a statement, the MP said parliament has to step in because “when phenomena of corruption go unpunished, they enhance the sense of impunity.”

Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos also weighed in. In a statement of his own, the mayor called on the attorney-general’s office to look into why the Contractors Council never finished its disciplinary probe.

“Since 2016 the members of the board [at the Contractors Council] have changed several times, yet the reluctance to carry through the disciplinary proceedings remained constant,” he stated.

The mayor described the council’s decision to nix the case as “provocative and at the same time disheartening.”

Moreover, since way back in February 2016 the Contractors Council had a dossier before it, compiled by an investigating officer, said to be damning of the contractors implicated in the sewerage scandal.

Appointed by the cabinet, the council’s board is chaired by an official of the Public Works Department. The vice-chairman is a senior state’s attorney.