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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Christofias will not appear before MPs on solidarity fund ]

Christofias will not appear before MPs on solidarity fund

PARLIAMENT will look into the former president’s solidarity fund, but Demetris Christofias will not have to appear before the Watchdog Committee, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said yesterday.

Omirou said the majority of parties decided that Chistofias would not be summoned before the committee to explain how the fund worked.

Green party MP Giorgos Perdikis disagreed with the decision.

The Watchdog Committee will discuss the solidarity fund on Tuesday. In the event, members of the fund’s management committee – such as the then finance minister and the under-secretary to the President – will attend. But not Christofias, who as President was the chairman of the management committee.

Perdikis had wanted Christofias to appear, but found himself alone as the other parties – including otherwise arch-rivals AKEL and DISY – reached a consensus that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for a former President to be dragged before the committee.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday, Perdikis barely stopped short of calling the decision a cover-up.

“This is political omerta,” he said, citing the popular catchphrase signifying a code of silence.

He added: “The majority of the parties think that institutions must be safeguarded, they feel that the criticism leveled at politicians by society, the media and citizens is unfair, and that by doubling down and maintaining the lack of transparency they will be able to preserve the standing of politics and politicians.”

But this kind of warped logic achieves the opposite of the desired effect, Perdikis said.

Earlier, AKEL had tried to quash discussion of the solidarity fund at the House committee. The party’s parliamentary spokesman Nicos Katsourides addressed a letter to the House Speaker, arguing that since the fund is governed by private law, and the lion’s share of donations to it had been made by private individuals, parliament had no right of oversight.

The fund was set up as a charitable institution.

Recent reports said that through the fund, the former president handed out around €522,000 – mostly in cheques worth €1,000 each – “to poor fellow humans” just before the last presidential elections.

The cabinet had set up the fund on April 23, 2008, also chipping in the first €10,000.

Businessman Nicos Shacolas contributed €330,000, the Russian Commercial Bank gave €100,000, and Nicolas Treppidis an additional €100,000.

An anonymous individual paid €2,000 into the fund, Kimonas Developments Ltd, also gave €2,000 and Hariton Stamatiou, €7,985.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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