Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 29

Хроники кипрской саги о паспортах. Часть 29
24 June 2021 DOM LiVE
1437

On Wednesday, June 23rd, the Audit Office strongly opposed the statements made during the completion of the investigation by the Inquiry Committee that in 2016 the Office did not do their job properly when they conducted the audit of the Citizenship by Investment program.

Moreover, the Audit Office accused the Committee of bias and stressed that the final report is “a flagrant violation of all principles of impartiality”, which has already been reported to the EU authorities.

The dossier states that the Audit Office should be held accountable for not preparing a corresponding report after the audit of the program in 2016 or later, when they received numerous complaints. The Committee's statement emphasizes that if this requirement were met, it would be possible to identify the weaknesses of the program in time and avoid its closure, as well as humiliation of the country.

According to the members of the Inquiry Committee, the office of the Auditor-General did not properly control the program. In 2016, an audit of the work of the Cyprus Ministry of Internal Affairs was carried out. However, the audit report did not include any comments or recommendations for improving the investment program.

The final report was prepared by 4 people: Retired Supreme Court President and President of the Inquiry Committee Myron Nikolatos, Retired Supreme Court Judge Kostas Pampalis, Deputy Auditor General Kyriacos Kyriacou, and Financial Commissioner Pavlos Th. Ioannou.

In turnm the Audit Office reported that in 2016 their employee spent two weeks studying the procedures at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Due to the fact that the check was shallow and the employee trusted everything that the responsible officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told him, the Audit Office did not realize the scale of the problem. The head of the service, who received a draft of the conclusion, which was prepared on the basis of supporting documents, also did not attach importance to this case.

By the way, the Audit Office began a large investigation of the program only in July 2019, requesting information from the Civil Registry and Migration Department. Five months later, an answer was received that the required information was stored in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. As a result, the files were never transferred to the Audit Office. And later they received a letter from the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiadis, in which he expressed the opinion that the Audit Office has no right to conduct such checks.

The Audit Office accused the Committee of seeking to create the false impression that it should have conducted a full audit of the program in 2016.

Ignoring the most basic principles, the Committee is trying to shift the responsibility onto the shoulders of the Audit Office, at the same time they say absolutely nothing about the insolvency of internal audit mechanisms, the Audit Office stressed.

In the meantime, the adjustment of the final opinion of the Inquiry Committee and the hiding of some data in accordance with accepted practice, caused a wave of criticism and indignation towards the Attorney-General of Cyprus, the government, the current president and members of the Council of Ministers.

Thus, a member of the AKEL party Aristos Damianou stressed that "such behavior confirms the obvious institutional connection between the president and members of the Council of Ministers."

A clear indication of a conflict of interest usually results in the president having the political will to step down, - he said, noting the danger of the European Union condemning the Republic of Cyprus.

The opinion of the AKEL representative was also supported by the DIKO party.

In its statement, the party pointed to illegal naturalizations, unfair interference by Anastasiades to promote specific applications, weakening of the program criteria for issuing passports to some foreign investors, and illegal participation of the president and other high-ranking officials in Council of Ministers meetings at which they asserted who to grant citizenship.

In turn, EDEK noted that the publication of the final opinion and the scandal with naturalization raises the need to put an end to impunity.

We expect that the names of those responsible will be named, who will be punished accordingly, the party said.

Хроники кипрской саги о паспортах. Часть 29

Finally, the Greens demanded that the report be submitted to the Parliament in its original form, without any amendments.

The Attorney-General must serve for the good of society, which means that he should immediately disclose the names of persons who bear political or criminal responsibility, whether they are legal and control bodies, ministers and deputies, or even the president, '' summed up the party's representative Alexandra Attalidou.

As you may know, on Tuesday, June 22, the office of the Attorney-General of Cyprus finally published the final report of the Inquiry Committee, which, under the leadership of Myron Nikolatos, was investigating cases of illegal issuance of Golden passports.

The 780-page dossier has been extensively revised. For security reasons, the names and some personal data of investors were removed from it.

Read more:

  • Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 28 (link)
  • Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 27 (link)
  • Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 26 (link)
  • Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 25 (link)
  • Chronicles of the Cyprus Passport Saga. Part 24 (link)
Source: philenews.com, cyprus-mail
Photos: philenews.com, cyprus-mail
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