Deputy attorney-general Savvas Angelides on Sunday called for an independent investigation into auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides.

In an interview with newspaper Kathimerini, he said “any sane thinking person would demand to follow the only procedure which exists to control the behaviour of the auditor-general towards independent officials and others in the public sphere.”

He said the “only option available to assess this behaviour” is to involve the judicial council in a process which, would “adjudicate an application to decide what constitutes misconduct for the purpose of dismissal.”

The audit service replied in kind with a statement of its own, saying Angelides’ interview “confirms what we have been saying, that, for a long time, the attorney-general and his deputy, with the help of a private lawyer, have been working on a plan to defenestrate the auditor-general.”

They described the move as a “retaliation” for when “the auditor-general dared to highlight that the deputy attorney-general acquitted a former client of his and a current client of his former law firm, at which his wife still works, in a criminal case.”

They added, “at the same time, we should make a reminder that other complaints submitted by the audit service against the assistant attorney-general are pending.”

These complaints, they said, concern matters regarding the suspension of criminal prosecutions for tax offences allegedly committed by people with political offences, the “spy van, and in relation to shareholders of private companies who were accused of abusing public funds.

“There are also pending cases concerning the former President [Nicos Anastasiades], who has been a friend of the attorney-general for 40 years. The maiming of the auditor-general will pave the way for the withdrawal of all complaints,” they said.

They also made reference to the incumbent President Nikos Christodoulides, who, they said, “a few weeks ago had mentioned that the auditor-general is doing an ‘excellent job’.”

In addition, they said, “international organisations have noted the ‘impressive progress’ made by the audit service in recent years and emphasise the service’s crucial role in uncovering corruption.”

The duo at the legal service wants to behead Odysseas Michaelides. The reasons for the application [for an investigation into him] are therefore obvious. Unfortunately for them, the audit service is not a branch of the legal service and the auditor-general is not their subordinate.

“The supreme court will have its say. The attorney-general’s threats in September 2023, and today’s full-page attack and threats by his deputy, will finally be able to be answered before independent and unbridled judges. So, put your money where your mouth is.”

They went on to say that in the coming days, they will notify the international organisation of audit institutions (Intosai) regarding “the obstruction to our work, which, among other things, will also cover the role of the attorney-general.

“We will also inform the European Commission, which is preparing its report on the rule of law.”