Conflicts of interest and an adjournment marked the beginning of the first court proceedings on Thursday, for the attorney-general’s motion to have the auditor-general removed from his post.

The first court appearance between auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides and attorney-general George Savvides unfolded in a brief hearing at the Supreme Constitutional Court, which began with one of the judges recusing himself citing impartiality concerns.

Proceedings began at 10am, with both camps arriving with their team of lawyers.

The case concerns Savvides’ move to file a motion seeking to have Michaelides removed from his post, citing inappropriate conduct. The auditor-general has in turn filed opposition proceedings.

Judge Nicholas Santis began saying his son has been working at the Pambos Ioannides law firm since January. Raising issues of impartiality, as Ioannides is now one of the lawyers representing the auditor general, the judge said he recused himself from the case.

“This fact necessitates my exception. This is a particularly important case, it is institutional and constitutional,” Santis said.

“Therefore, with primary concern for the impartiality of the proceedings given the seriousness of the case, I will recuse myself.”

Michaelides is represented by Ioannides along with Christos Clerides and George Triantafyllides.

The team for the Legal Service comprises the L. Papaphilippou, and the Kallis & Kallis firms.

During Thursday’s hearing, the court heard one of the judges also seek to have on the record that the Triantafyllides firm is handling a case of her deceased father.

Meanwhile, another judge said the Kallis firm is working on a case for her husband.

Both wanted to give the legal teams the opportunity to raise any objections, however lawyers from each side said the case could go ahead without any issues surrounding these two judges.

The auditor-general’s lawyers requested an adjournment so they could prepare their legal arguments regarding two pre-trial objections.

Effectively, the judges will first examine an objection by the auditor-general arguing the attorney-general does not have the legal recourse to begin such proceedings. They seek to argue that the president appoints the auditor-general, and as such, only he can begin proceedings to have him removed.

If the objection is accepted, the case is thrown out in its entirety.    

Should the judges reject the first objection, proceedings will then continue to the second objection, which concerns itself with contents surrounding the motion to have Michaelides removed.

The case has been adjourned to May 29.