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    HomeOpinionsCypriot PerspectiveAnastasiades must be prosecuted

    Anastasiades must be prosecuted

    By George Koumoulli

     

     

    Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, in an outburst of sincerity before the Investigative Committee, in January 2021, on the “golden” passports, presented the real picture of the political and religious leadership. the Archbishop, addressing the PD, said “look, President, and the economy, but stop stealing all, I put myself in. We have to look at the economic issue of our country.”

     

     

     

    The Archbishop’s confession of thefts is terribly important. In another democratic country it would cause a political earthquake and many senior police officers, at the instigation of the attorney general, would interrogate the Archbishop, the President and the ministers for days, with a view to prosecuting them. And the public, instead of sleeping the sleep of the law as is the case with Cypriot society, would hold daily demonstrations and demand the resignation of the PD and its ministers as incapable and dishonest to govern.

     

     

     

    At the same time, the various religious organizations would demand the immediate departure of Chrysostom from the Archdiocesan post. And indeed: how can it be that a Church is led by someone who himself confesses to be a thief? The indisputable fact is that the moral standing of our political leaders, i.e. the PD, the former ptB, several ministers, as well as our religious leader, Archbishop Chrysostomos, has suffered an irreparable subsidence.

     

     

     

    In this article, I will focus on the issue of the criminal prosecution of the PD. I will not refer to the nodular case of the Pandora Papers that say that the law firm founded by Anastasiades – and still called “Nicos Chr. Anastasiades & Partners”!- concealed the assets of the Russian oligarch Lebedev (see an article in the newspaper “The Guardian” dated 03/10/2021, entitled “Law firm founded by Cypriot president accused of hiding assets of Russian exile”). It cannot be documented that Anastasiades participated in the activities of his family company in the matter with Lebedev.

     

     

     

    Where Anastasiades is being criminally investigated is his confession that his “friend”, Sheikh Salen bin Mahfouz, gave him his private plane free of charge in August 2018, for the family trip he made to the Seychelles. In return, the Saudi took 42 EU passports for himself, for other relatives, associates and his two wives. According to EY, the sheikh should not have taken a passport, nor should all 19 members of his family. The media refer to this act as “bribery” (which may not necessarily be bribery), but common sense says that it is undoubtedly bribery that is a punishable act and especially for a President of Cyprus who ought, by virtue of his position, to be a model of impeccable constitutional behavior and to keep the register of the whitest of the whiter.

     

     

    In this particular case, it was a pure bribe, because the Saudi “friend” of the PD expected to reap some consideration from his gift – the 42 passports.

     

     

     

    Therefore, it is considered as a criminal offense and I recall that Cyprus as a member of the EU must apply the Framework Decision No. 203/568/JHA of the European Council of 22 July 2003 on the fight against corruption. If Cyprus were a well-governed state and, therefore, the Attorney General impartial – and not a puppet of the PD – the criminal prosecution of Anastasiades would be certain, since it blatantly violates Article 45, paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which clearly states that the President can be prosecuted “for any offense of dishonorable or moral obscenity”. Bribery is indeed a dishonourable and immoral act.

     

     

     

    The whole bribery affair has its grotesque aspect. In February 2018, after his re-election as pD, Anastasiades presented in chords and organizations the Charter of Ethics signed by all members of the government, which says: “They (the members of the government) must not only act with absolute impartiality but also prevent any suspicion of personal interest. Members of the government do not accept invitations for personal hospitality from a foreign government or from natural or legal persons affiliated with their ministry.

     

     

    They return to the country, either immediately or at the end of their term of office, with gifts worth more than € 150. They completely refrain from any interference that can be considered as preferential or preferential treatment of anyone.”

     

     

     

    If Anastasiades really wanted to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Charter, he could have told his daughters not to take on naturalization cases, as there would be a conflict of interest, since he himself was involved in their final approvals.

     

     

    And while the Charter of Conduct forbids members of the government not to accept gifts of personal value in excess of 150 euros (which also applies to our MPs), he traveled to the Seychelles plus women and children, accepting a gift whose value in euros is certainly six digits. The (amended) saying “President you teach and laws you tatter” applies here.

     

     

    *Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of CypriumNews.

     

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