The Audit service on Tuesday raised concerns regarding deferments granted to young men who would otherwise have been conscripted into the National guard.

In a report on the matter, it referred to “gaps” in procedures for granting deferments, and also said that some of those granted were not included in official lists handed to the service by the National guard.

“This fact, combined with the cases which were included in the lists but did not involve grants of deferrals, as well as the fact that the lists included older cases from before the years we had requested, shows that the lists prepared were not reliable,” the service said.

“We found that there is no register or other official state of the deferments granted” and that deferment lists had only been granted upon request by the Audit service, it added.

It said records are kept “based on draft letters kept by the relevant officers on their computers.”

For this reason, the service recommended the National guard create a register of deferments which would include the details of all the people granted them, their duration and the relevant law allowing for it to be granted.

Last year, a total of 271 applications to delay national service were submitted, 106 of which were successful.

In 2022, 358 applications were submitted, of which 162 were successful. In 2021, 165 of 316 total applications were successful, and in 2020, 140 of 240 total applications were successful.

Deferments are typically granted for one of three reasons. The first is that the would-be conscript has not yet completed his secondary education and is enrolled at a recognised secondary education institution either in Cyprus or abroad.

The Audit service found that in half of these cases, the conscript was an athlete who had enrolled in an academy abroad, and expressed doubt as to whether the academies in question were recognised as secondary education institutions.

Would-be conscripts can also be granted deferments in the event that their higher education institutions are nursing schools, culinary or pastry schools, military institutions, or schools for non-commissioned officers.

The third is special or financial family reasons.

The Audit service said the government has showed “excessive leniency and tolerance without any consequence for those who do not comply with conscription.”

The National guard said it had included deferments from before 2020 in its data as those people had received further deferments during and after 2020, and that due to the high volume of work, they had not been able to create a comprehensive list.

It said an electronic application will be created on which all deferments and exemptions will be recorded.