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    “The “Pothen Esses” and the discrediting of politicians”

    As a middle class citizen from the top shelf appeared South Cyprus President Anastasiades through the testimony of “Pothen Esches” last week: Thirteen fields in Pera Pedi inherited from his grandfather and mother and two apartments he bought in Limassol in 1983 and 1985 are the real estate he declared.

    In addition, his net remuneration in 2020 amounted to €137,571, of which €67,757 comes from the remuneration of the President of the Republic. The President’s annual income is supplemented by the three pensions he receives, namely a Social Insurance pension, a General Accounting Office pension and a pension from the Lawyers’ Pension Fund. He also declared 115,000 euros in deposits.

    Τον Μάιο βέβαια του 2020, στη βρετανική εφημερίδα Financial Times άλλα έλεγε. Απαντώντας στις κατηγορίες για διαφθορά δήλωσε: «I have done so well when I was a lawyer that I have a lot of savings. « I’m not in need to be corrupted.» Moscow on the Med: Cyprus and its Russians FT MAY 15 2020.

    In an interview with Sigma and Yiannis Kareklas on October 20, 2020, he said that when he assumed the presidency in 2013 he was already a millionaire and, yes, considers himself immaculate and uncontaminated. He said, “I came richer and I will leave poorer. It is good for those who are interested in checking the work of my former law firm. If they show an increase or a vertical decrease.”


    Based on his public statements in 2020 in Sigma and the Financial Times, Mr. President has many testimonies and is certainly very rich. So how is it that in the official registration of these assets imposed by law through the statement “Pothen Esses” they are not visible, one wonders: The many deposits to which he referred are the amount of 115,000 euros that he declared?

    Who is competent to check this inconsistency of public statements and written texts? The Speaker of the House, Mrs. Annita Demetriou? The Attorney General, Mr. George Savvidis? The auditor general, Mr. Odysseas Michaelides? The head of income tax Mr. Pantelis? Or perhaps some junior officials of the House, who told us that some boxes of the statement “Pothen Esses” have not been filled in?

    Many have argued that the Anastasiades family has a large fortune, which however seems to have been transferred to the President’s two daughters and his wife. If that is the case, why did Mr President not mention it in his interviews? Why did he himself appear as a multimillionaire and did not say the simple, “I made a great fortune, but I gave it all to my children and my wife”? That would make sense. What’s the absurdity? Do you know any Cypriot husband who makes a big fortune and writes it to his wife? Only Cypriot politicians do this, since they have previously taken care through the relevant legislation that neither their spouses nor their children are controlled.

    The process

    Under normal circumstances, “Pothen Esses” for politicians should be conducted in the way that the Income Tax Department controls all citizens and not through the policy of “whatever statements are acceptable”. For example, some politician declares himself huge real estate. It must be asked: 1. When did you acquire it? 2. With what money? 3. When did you pay and with what evidence? 4. Are the assets you hold justified on the basis of the wages over time and the taxes you pay?

    In short, in a democratic and well-governed state, which we say is Cyprus, shouldn’t someone control all this? Especially in the case of the President, since he was accused several times of corruption, when he publicly admitted that he accepted for free expensive trips to exotic destinations by Saudi friends, who happened to get passports, or when some people involved his law firm in the passport issuing program and in other kinds of agreements with the state.

    As long as this is not done in a serious and documented way, the discrediting of politics and politicians will continue and, yes, gossip and even the mischief of citizens, who wrongly think that everyone involved in politics is a crook, will flourish. We understand that this process, both soul-destroying and annoying, is for many politicians. We also fully understand the statement of the President in his interview with Sigma that “this attempt through whispers to undermine the ethos of the President and his family members is very soul-destroying and dishonest”. On the other hand, let them set the right rules of control. If, however, they do not want to be subjected to this necessary procedure, let them not be involved in politics. We say necessary, because some politicians have taken care to convince even the last skeptical citizen that those who are involved in the commons should be controlled. You remember the case of the former Speaker of the Parliament Dimitris Syllouris, who did not accept that the loans of politicians of the famous Yiorkatzis list should come to light. He succeeded then, but, divine trial, Al Jazeera came to unscath him before the eyes of Cypriot public opinion, videotaping him promising “full support” to the naturalization of an alleged Chinese investor, who was a fugitive and a fraudster.

    In this statement “Pothen Esses” by Mr. President there is another interesting element. In the second, he also seems to receive the Member’s pension. That is, around 4,000 euros per month. At least that is what was shown by the comparison of his last two statements. On Wednesday the Presidential made it clear that the President’s pensions are still not being collected. This issue was raised previously by “Politis”. At that time, the pensions of many officials who served but also received a pension, such as Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Christodoulou, were highlighted. It is true that the House cut multiple pensions by bill, but the Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional. Then some politicians who were entitled to a pension while serving, sensitizing it, renounced it. Among them is Nicos Anastasiades. On February 2, 2015, he stated: “Regarding the issue that arose after the Supreme Court’s decision on the multiple pensions of state officials, the President of the Republic wishes to state that while he is President of the Republic renounces the right to a parliamentary pension.”

    And he was right. It is literally a disgrace to take as a President EUR 10 000 a month and an additional EUR 4 000 a month as a pension for your service as an MP. At a time when there are thousands of pensioners of EUR 500 and EUR 700 and tens of thousands of our fellow citizens with salaries below the starvation threshold. At a time when, especially, each President does not pay anything out of his own pocket, since all his expenses and his official trips are paid by the presidency, to remember here and the late Demetris Christofias who asked for and took travelogues. In short, the issue of multiple pensions, but also of paying a pension to current politicians, should be seen again.

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