Attention turned to a sitting ‘MP’ on Monday as the scandal engulfing the north’s education sector regarding “fake diplomas” rumbled on.

The ‘MP’ in question is ruling coalition party UBP ‘MP’ Emrah Yesilirmak, with rumours surrounding the authenticity of the degree in business administration he obtained from the Cyprus Health and Social Sciences University (KSTU) having first surfaced in February.

They were brought back onto the agenda on Monday, with opposition party CTP Leader Tufan Erhurman speaking in ‘parliament’ about the matter of immunity from criminal proceedings which is granted to ‘MPs’ in the north.

‘MPs’ in the north are granted immunity from criminal proceedings by article 84 of the ‘constitution’, with limited exceptions. Those exceptions include when an ‘MP’ is caught “in flagrante delicto”, another word for being caught in the act of committing a crime, or if the crime in question carries a heavier sentence than five years in prison.

However, Erhurman said, “there is nothing in the law which says a matter cannot be investigated.”

“The police can take a statement and investigate a case. Legislative immunity does not prevent this. If there is an allegation of a crime and the police take the file to the prosecutor, it will be investigated, and if [an ‘MP’] is convicted, they will be punished at the end of their term,” he said.

He added, “there is no such thing as immunity from investigation,” and noted that the north’s chief public prosecutor’s office can request that immunity be lifted.

Fuel was added to the flames by former negotiator for the Cyprus problem Kudret Ozersay.

He said Yesilirmak had claimed he would voluntarily go and give a statement to the police regarding the matter but had since done nothing about it.

He also agreed with Erhurman’s conclusion on article 84 of the ‘constitution’, saying “could he avoid an investigation by this? Or can he delay it? No. Because even if he does not give a statement or an explanation to the police, relying on his community, the police have the authority to send it to the chief public prosecutor’s office anyway.

“Moreover, since the police asked him for an explanation, it means there must be tangible evidence on the file!”

He also alluded to potential police investigations regarding other sitting ‘MPs’ from all three parties in the north’s ruling coalition, the UBP, the DP, and the YDP.

Elsewhere on Monday, the case regarding the Cyprus Massachusetts Centre of Innovation returned to court.

The college was allegedly linked to a large criminal network, with a Pakistani national who had been working as an agent for the organisation having been arrested last week for receiving €10,000 in exchange for creating a forged student visa.

Police on Monday said in court they had taken statements from 20 students at the college, while the four suspects who appeared in court on Friday all appeared for a second time.

The accountant was released without charge, while its secretary was released on bail as police believe he had no link to the criminal activities going on at the company but may still be criminally liable due to his elevated position within it.

The college’s manager, deputy manager, and the agent were all remanded for four days. An arrest warrant has been put out for the company’s director, who is believed to be abroad.

Meanwhile, it was announced that the north’s higher education accreditation authority (Yodak)’s deputy chairman Hasan Amca would take charge of the authority while criminal proceedings are being taken against its chairman Turgay Avci.

Avci and former Yodak board member Mehmet Hasguler were both arrested on Friday, accused of taking under-the-table payments while the KSTU was applying for Yodak accreditation.

They were both charged on Saturday and handed three-day remands, though Avci did not attend proceedings as he was in hospital with an elevated blood pressure. Both are expected to appear in court again on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, the north’s supreme court announced the commencement of its evaluation of Turkish Cypriot Leader Ersin Tatar’s request that Avci be relieved of his duties as Yodak chairman.

Senior judge Gokhan Asafogullari will conduct an investigation into Avci’s conduct, while also requesting that Avci write a written defence within 15 days.

At the end of those 15 days, Asafogullari will have 30 days to submit a report to a 12-person committee consisting of chief justice Narin Ferdi Sefik, seven other judges, the north’s chief public prosecutor, and a member each appointed by Tatar, the north’s ‘parliament’, and the Cyprus Turkish Bar Association.