Supreme court rules to curtail officials conflicts of interest

first_imgTHE full bench of the supreme court on Tuesday ruled in favour of a bill passed in April last year aimed at preventing state officials from having any conflicts of interest.The decision was unanimous.Parliament had amended the 2014 basic law, the Incompatible Offices Act, by barring certain state officials from holding positions on the boards of public-law entities or participating as common shareholders in public companies “which serve collective interests for local or regional development, sports, or the fine arts.” The president subsequently referred the amendment to the top court.The basic law had afforded exceptions, allowing state officials to participate in these companies if their services did not come into direct conflict with their duties in their capacity as state functionaries.But parliament amended the basic law, removing the exceptions and thus introducing a blanket prohibition.The supreme court agreed with parliament, rejecting the state’s argument that the amending law violates the constitution.In particular, the state had argued that the amending law impinged on articles 25 and 26 of the constitution – the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business, and the right to enter freely into any contract.In its judgment, the supreme court said both articles contained caveats to these rights such as restrictions as prescribed by law, or for the purpose of protecting the public interest.“It is evident that it would be at least unacceptable, from the viewpoint of public morals, as well as unethical, that the state officials cited in the law should conduct the aforementioned activities…” the court said.In its ruling, the supreme court also noted that, in its view, the state officials concerned should also be barred from providing their services to cooperative credit institutions (CCIs) and public companies in which CCIs are shareholders.It added, however, that in practical terms, this is not applicable today. This alludes to the fact that, since cooperatives have been nationalised and are therefore no longer private concerns, there is no incompatibility issue for state officials participating in CCIs.Acting on the attorney-general’s advice, the president last year refused to sign off on a total of 16 bills passed by parliament, referring them to the supreme court.A number of these have since been found to be unconstitutional, with the supreme court ruling in favour of the president.By contrast, Tuesday’s decision was the first, so far, where the top court sided with parliament.The government camp had criticised opposition parties for pushing through ‘populist’ laws, in a vote-grabbing bid just before the previous parliament disbanded ahead of the legislative elections.In turn, the opposition countered that several of the contentious bills were drafted by the government and submitted at the last moment, leaving MPs little time to review them properly. You May LikeTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Cyprus talks at crossroads Eide says

first_imgBy Michele KambasGreek and Turkish Cypriots have reached a critical juncture in negotiations to end the decades-old Cyprus division and only a small number of issues remain to be resolved, the United Nations’ envoy for Cyprus said on Thursday.“We are at a crossroads,” UN envoy Espen Barthe Eide told Reuters in an interview.“I think the leaders know that we are at the crossroads and at the crossroads you have to take the right turn, or the alternative is the wrong turn,” he added.Eide, a former Norwegian foreign minister, has been overseeing the talks between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci for about two years.Eide and his team facilitate the discussions between Anastasiades and Akinci to reunite the island under a federal umbrella of two semi-autonomous zones.He said there was “no doubt” that the two had come closer to a solution than ever before. But he was more cautious when asked whether he thought a peace plan could be agreed by the two sides and then put to a popular vote in a referendum this year, saying that depended on the leaders.“I believe it’s possible. Whether it will happen, I think I will remain open. It’s doable.”“There are a relatively small number of outstanding issues, the vast majority is done,” said Eide.Although the number is small, they are significant, he added.Eide said the issues that still require resolution include finalising the nature of the presidency that will govern Cyprus, a final deal on territorial adjustments, some property-related questions and security.Greece, Turkey and Britain are guarantor powers under a 1960 treaty that granted the former British colony independence. It was cited by Turkey as a basis for the 1974 invasion, and Greek Cypriots and Greece want the system dismantled. Turkey and Turkish Cypriots want the system to remain intact.“On that one I am quite optimistic, that’s within reach,” Eide said on the prospects of a deal on security.Although there is no timeframe for a settlement, Eide said it was understood that the process could not go on indefinitely.“There is no time limit … but there is a shared understanding that we do not have oceans of time and that there is no time like the present.” You May LikeTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Supreme Court pushes school celebrations decision to September

first_imgThe supreme court has set September 25 as the date for the lawyers’ submissions in the case of the president’s referral to the court of a law passed by parliament on school celebrations.At the opening hearing on Thursday, attorney-general Costas Clerides, representing the state, said he came prepared and would be ready to argue his case within a matter of days.For his part, Polys Polyviou, the lawyer representing parliament, said he needed at least two weeks to prepare.The court went into brief recess and, having reviewed its heavy schedule, decided it could not hear the case any time before the summer holidays.As such it set the next date for September 25.In late April, president Nicos Anastasiades referred to the supreme court a bill – sponsored by his own party Disy – transferring the power to set school celebrations from parliament to the government. This was on the grounds that the bill it clashed with the constitution.The referral was made on behalf of the state by the attorney-general. It is understood that the AG was asked to do so by the president.The executive argues that the constitutionally imposed separation of powers may be compromised by a clause in the bill stipulating that the education ministry would be tasked with decision-making over class commemorations “following consultation with” the House education committee.The contentious excerpt relates to “consultation with” parliament, which the state will argue violates the separation of powers as it grants the House a say in decisions which are the purview of the government/executive.In the meantime, the House has filed an objection to the president’s referral, arguing that the bill is not in breach of the constitution.The Disy bill, which passed thanks to Akel’s support, was designed to overturn a previous House decision introducing a brief in-class commemoration in public schools of the 1950 Enosis (union with Greece) referendum.The initial Enosis commemoration legislative amendment – tabled by far-right Elam deputies – sparked outrage in the Turkish Cypriot community, with leader Mustafa Akinci going as far as withdrawing from the ongoing Cyprus peace talks until “the mistake is corrected.You May LikeClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Are Leading The Pack. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Dromolaxia municipality claims area has become ghettoised

first_imgThe municipality of Dromolaxia-Meneou on Tuesday asked for offset benefits to counterbalance the fact that people living within its boundaries cannot develop their properties or businesses, claiming the area has been “ghettoised.”At the House refugee committee, Dromolaxia mayor Kypros Andronikou reiterated a long-standing demand for Larnaca airport to pay the local municipality a business licence fee.Approximately 32 per cent of the airport falls within the municipalities’ boundaries.The mayor said he has discussed the matter with the operators of the airport, who replied that they have a fees agreement directly with the state.A fraction of the parking revenues at the airport would solve the issue, he added.Andronikou complained of double standards: while a refugee running a small business has to pay the local municipality a business license fee, the same does not apply to the airport.Dromolaxia hosts refugee housing estates which, because they lie on Turkish Cypriot land, deprive their occupants of title deeds.Refugee occupants had been granted certificates of leasing under the previous administration of Demetris Christofias.In the absence of title deeds, it was decided that leasing certificates be made available to refugees allowing them to transfer the residence to their heirs. They could also use the certificates to secure bank loans.But according to Andronikou as it stands the certificates are essentially useless, as due to zoning arrangements local residents cannot develop their properties.He said a large tract of land in Meneou adjacent to the airport’s runway has been assigned a zero construction coefficient, and as such is worth “nothing but air.”Moreover, Kyprianou said, because Dromolaxia has been designated as a peri-urban area (urban outskirts) it is unable to tap EU development funds.The refugee residents in the area have become second-class citizens, he asserted.You May LikeClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Pilot greed a reminder of why Cyprus Airways collapsed Georgiades says

first_imgCriticisms surrounding the liquidation process of now defunct Cyprus Airways are a staunch reminder of the mismanagement that ruled the company for years and eventually led to its demise, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Thursday.He was commenting on accusations by former Cyprus Airways employees a day after the liquidation process came to an end, leaving some quarters disgruntled.On Wednesday, 98.6 per cent of 325 former employees of the defunct air carrier, voted in favour of a settlement plan outlining how €11m would be disbursed to creditors.The liquidator Avgoustinos Papathomas said €6.4m would go the state and €4.6m to former employees who were subject to pay-cuts during their tenure at Cyprus Airways. The settlement plan will be submitted to Nicosia district court on January 19 for ratification where any objections can be filed.Responding to criticisms on Thursday, Georgiades said the state had paid former employees “significant compensation when it had to because they were losing their jobs.”The carrier did not have the funds to compensate the former employees as it already owed millions it couldn’t pay back and thus the government stepped in to give the money to those who lost their jobs to help them out and was now receiving the money back as part of the liquidation process.A former pilot of defunct Cyprus Airways Chrysanthos Hadjichrysanthou speaking on Cybc’s morning show however called it “unethical” and said “I don’t know anyone that gives compensation and asks for it back,” while at the same time, President Nicos Anastasiades wrote off a €20m debt football clubs owed to the state.He argued that the €6.4m the state would be receiving as part of the liquidation should instead go to the former staffers.Pilots, who had a separate fund from that of all other former employees “were sorted out just fine” Georgiades said.Their reasoning is that they would have preferred the state had not stepped in to compensate the former employees so that during the liquidation process, the pilots could have received more money, the finance minister added.This was unacceptable and listening to the pilot was reminiscent of the mismanagement that ruled Cyprus Airways for years, Georgiades said.“Thankfully, the closing down of Cyprus Airways caused no problems to our economy. On the contrary, air connectivity has improved, fares have decreased, new airlines began operating and new jobs have been created.”Georgiades also said he was glad that most of the former employees had found jobs in their respective fields.The liquidator had amassed €21.6m in income since the liquidation process began in early 2015. Divestment came to €8m with an additional €2.5 expenses leaving just over €11m to distribute amongst creditors.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue Book10 Electric Cars That Last the LongestKelley Blue BookUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Law on new health body inconsistent MPs told

first_imgBy Evie AndreouHealth Minister, Constantinos Ioannou, told MPs on Thursday the government had referred the law on the creation of the organisation of state health services (Okyy) which was passed by the House plenum recently, due to inconsistencies.Ioannou, explained to the House health committee that the government referred the law, passed by the plenum right before the Easter holidays – as it was found to include inconsistent provisions.The government filed an amendment to correct the inconsistency between the provisions of the basic law as regards the declaration of possible conflict of interest in relation to the board members through their involvement in businesses related to the organisation’s activities, which is healthcare. However, there is a reference in the next paragraph to conflict of interest due to their involvement in any business.Ioannou told MPs last month that: “It used to be ‘in any businesses’ […] We changed it to ‘any businesses dealing with health issues’”.In the note accompanying the referral, President Nicos Anastasiades, said that parliament did not include the corrective amendment the government had suggested and, as a result, the inconsistency between these two paragraphs continued to exist and created problems in choosing and appointing the board members of Okyy.The president explained that the cabinet may appoint as a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors which neither he nor she, nor their spouse, has no interest in operations related to the activities of Okyy. However, the president said, the cabinet needed to check the degree of relevance to the activities of the organisation, of any enterprise owned by these persons.“This inconsistency causes confusion as to which is the correct application of the law and as to what the cabinet is asked to check to appoint the board of the Okyy,” the president said.In addition, he said, the provisions of the law under referral, lead to different treatment of the Okyy board in relation to the boards of other organisations as, in those cases, conflict of interest concerns their involvement in relevant businesses and not for any type of business they might own.Greens’ MP, Giorgos Perdikis, who had proposed the amendment which was voted by parliament, leading to the inconsistency, said that the House was being blackmailed and told that unless MPs withdraw the legislation they passed, three Cypriot members of the Okyy board had threatened to resign.“They are so prominent that they do not want to give the Council of Ministers their assets to check whether they are linked to healthcare businesses,” Perdikis said.The head of the House health committee, Costakis Constantinou, however, said that the minister never mentioned during the meeting anything about the resignation of any Okky board members.Disy, he said, accepted the referral.The eight-member board of the organisation of state health services was appointed last December, following cabinet approval. The main responsibilities of the board of directors are to oversee the operation of all public hospitals and centres of primary health care as well as the implementation of administrative and financial autonomy in public hospitals. Okyy will replace the health ministry in providing health services.You May LikeSolar PowerCalifornia Will Pay Homeowners to Install SolarSolar PowerUndoOpoopa10 Greatest American Inventions That Changed The World!OpoopaUndoHealevateMom Sees Tiny Hole In Goodwill Diaper Bag, Finds Something She Will Never ForgetHealevateUndo The Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoWidowers threaten legal action over pensionsUndoMayors lobbying president to prevent local govt mergersUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Expert says son not involved in parents brutal killing

first_imgAn expert hired by the family of a teacher who was brutally murdered along with his wife in Nicosia last week suggested Thursday that the case was a robbery gone bad and the couple’s 15-year-old son had nothing to do with it.Former state pathologist Marios Matsakis’ claims came a day after police arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the case.Investigators apparently have evidence that puts the man at the location at the time of the crime. He is expected to be brought before a court later Thursday.The man is said to have a prior record relating to burglaries and drugs.Matsakis, who examined the crime scene on Zallongos Street in Strovolos the previous day, claimed the couple’s adopted son was not implicated.“My position is that it was a robbery gone bad,” he told state radio. “I have all the evidence and I can help police if I am asked.”Police did not respond to Matsakis’ claims, saying any details will be heard in court during the suspect’s remand hearing.Last Thursday, English School maths teacher Giorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 60, and his 59-year-old wife, Dina Sergiou, who worked for the central bank, were found stabbed to death in their home.Hadjigeorgiou was stabbed between 25 to 30 times and his wife 10 times. They both had one defensive wound each on their right arms, a post-mortem revealed.The couple’s son, the sole witness to the crime, had claimed two hooded perpetrators had forced entry into the house and told him they would not harm him. The boy managed to flee, running to a neighbouring house.Police said last week they found no sign of forced entry or robbery.You May LikeStyleBistroYou Might Not Recognize Some Celebs At Their First VMAsStyleBistroUndoReal Income Solo AdsSolo Ad Vendor | Real Income Solo AdsReal Income Solo AdsUndoSoftware AdviceThe 5 Best Project Management Dashboards, ComparedSoftware AdviceUndo Famagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoBritain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoHouse rejects presidential veto over repossession lawUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Audit Office slams Coop finance ministry over governance

first_imgCyprus’s audit office said that the state-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank, which is currently in takeover talks with two investor groups, should redesign its corporate governance after an audit revealed weaknesses.The audit office, which published on Friday its report on its probe into the Co-op’s administrative and compliance practices covering the period between July 1, 2015 and December 12, 2016, said that the attested gaps in governance are to blame for the bank’s failure to meet its own performance targets and implement its business plan.As a result, the investment of taxpayers who injected €1.5 billion in the form of a capital injection in 2014 to the Cooperative Central Bank – as the lender was called until a year ago when it completed its merger with 18 other cooperative saving banks it administered – and another €175 million the following year, is gradually losing value, the office said.The Co-op, which in the first nine months of 2017 generated a net loss of €63.3m compared with a profit of €7.1m for the full year of 2016 and a net loss of €176.4m the year before, had difficulties in reducing its non-performing loans portfolio, which accounted for €6.7bn in September last year, or 58.8 per cent of its total portfolio. In July, it announced its intention to assign the management of its delinquent loans to Spain’s specialist Altamira.Two months ago, the government issued €2.4bn in bonds in favour of the bank owned by the state to over 99 per cent and deposited €2.5bn, receiving its non-performing loans stock and the underlying collaterals as guarantee. The bank announced on March 19, its intention to seek a buyer for all or parts of its operations and assets amid concerns over its capital adequacy, which prompted depositors to start withdrawing their funds.“Unfortunately, the depreciation of the Cooperative Central Bank is accelerated by the finance ministry’s illegal decision, subsequently adopted by council of ministers to hand over, free of charge, 25 per cent of its stock to natural persons, customers of the corporation,” the state auditors said, repeating criticism made by Auditor-General Odysseas Michaelides in the past as part of a public war of words with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades.“The finance ministry’s actions but also those of the Cooperative Central Bank in this area, appear to be related to the effort to achieve a listing before supervisory authorities could attest the need for further capital increases,” the audotors added.The Co-op is one of the four systemic Cypriot banks jointly supervised by the Central Bank of Cyprus and the European Central Bank’s (ECB) Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM).“This is unacceptable and may likely constitute a violation of the relevant legislation,” the audit office said, adding that the matter also raises questions over the ethical behaviour of the state, its executives and officials.According to the report, the lender did not apply best practices the areas of human resource management and procurements.The Co-op’s agreement with Altamira to set up a non-performing loans management platform was the product of the company’s failure to negotiate with other companies, which brings the bank into a disadvantageous position and Altamira to an advantageous position, the state auditors said.You May LikeYour Daily LamaKathie Lee Gifford Lives In A $10.5 Oceanfront HouseYour Daily LamaUndoLa Mexicana Authentic FoodLamexicana2019La Mexicana Authentic FoodUndoMedicareGrannyTom Selleck Doesn’t Care What People Think About His CarMedicareGrannyUndo Modi versus Wild: Indian PM to join Bear Grylls in wildernessUndoFamagusta municipality says Varosha entry goes against UN regulationsUndoFresh case of Blue Nile virus in northUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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More storms on the way

first_imgWhile a cloudy start to the day on Monday will lead to a few showers in the Paphos region, storms are set to develop on Tuesday.By lunchtime on Tuesday storms will develop around Nicosia with torrential rain, hail and strong winds expected. The storms are expected to last through Thursday with temperatures falling to around 31C.Showers are expected from Tuesday to Thursday in Limassol too while storms are set to affect the mountains until Friday,You May LikePets10 Famous Medium Sized Dog BreedsPetsUndoBrainfun.meTop Best Train Trips in the WorldBrainfun.meUndoMykuyil6 Best Foods That Will Give Your Body Protein Without Meat!MykuyilUndo Brazil prison riot kills 52, with 16 decapitatedUndoState Legal Service condemns attack on attorney-generalUndoUrgent work planned on collapsed section of Nicosia wallsUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Justice minister highlights improvements in human rights

first_imgJustice Minister Ionas Nicolaou on Monday praised the progress Cyprus has made in terms of human rights in recent years by pointing to what he described as “tangible results”.He was speaking at the event ‘Modern challenges in the protection and promotion of human rights in Cyprus’ which took place to commemorate this year’s Human Rights Day.“In Cyprus, human rights and freedoms are primarily protected by the constitution, which is the supreme law of the state. A standard for their content and safeguards was the European Convention on Human Rights, which was incorporated into Cypriot law, with even greater power over any ordinary law,” he explained.The protection of human rights is the axis of the actions of the government in areas such as the justice system and prisons, while the role of the courts is also crucial.The ministry is substantially reforming the judicial system for faster and more effective administration of justice, the minister explained, adding that detention conditions are also being upgraded.“The changes in the prison system have elicited positive responses from international and European organisations visiting our prisons,” he added.In recent years, there has been a particular emphasis on tackling corruption and promoting accountability, and organisations and individuals have been consulted to strengthen transparency he said.He also commented on the treatment of refugees and undocumented migrants, saying that Cyprus has responded effectively to the recent influx.“We have ensured decent reception, security, and hospitable living conditions in properly designed reception areas, as well as special care for refugees in need of urgent or special protection,” he noted.“For our government, safeguarding human rights, universal respect and promotion will continue to be firmly at the forefront of our priorities and at the heart of our aspirations and policies, both nationally and internationally. For us human rights are not the prerogative of one person, but are for the good of all.”You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoMBA Degrees | Search AdsMBA Programs Online – See For YourselfMBA Degrees | Search AdsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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