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Transparency International Cyprus: “No political will for change”

06 February, 2014

Transparency International Cyprus has welcomed the European Commission’s first EU Anti-Corruption Report, an in-depth assessment of all 28 member states’ strengths and weaknesses in curbing corruption.
The report also includes an 8-page section dealing with issues that the Cypriot Government ought to address.
“They are issues that the citizens and politicians have been made aware in the last three years from Transparency International–Cyprus through our actions and publications. However, we do not see the political will for change,” said TI Cyprus Vice-Chair, Nicolas Nicolaides.
TI Cyprus said the weaknesses and gaps mentioned in the report include the lack of legislation on access to information, no whistle-blower’s protection legislation and no ‘revolving door’ policy banning public officials from being employed in the private sector without a ‘cooling off’ period.
It adds that the Political Party Funding Legislation covers parties not individual candidates and does not contain separate provisions for the monitoring of finances related to election campaigns or of individual donations above a certain threshold, while timely and comprehensive publication of party accounts is not envisaged. There is also no obligation to disclose the identity of donors or the amount of donations.
The report concluded that the Coordinating Body Against Corruption has not developed an anti-corruption strategy, there is a close relationship between the business and political environment and there is no mechanism in place within contracting authorities to help detect potentially corrupt practices in different stages of the procurement process.
The EC report welcomes the government’s decision to harmonise provisions on corruption across the criminal code and the more recent laws ratifying the OECD Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
The report also recognised the enforcement of a code of ethics for public officials published in June 2013, the will of the presidential candidates in the previous elections to disclose their assets and the incumbent’s order for his cabinet members to sign a code of conduct and the code of conduct for procurement regulating conflicts of interest.
Finally, the report makes a reference to the suggestion made by TI Cyprus that there ought to be an Independent Commission Against Corruption with its own budget, to focus solely on preventing, detecting and investigating corruption.

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