Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has ordered the state’s Auditor General to get harsher in his inspections and clamp down harder on anyone involved in public financial scandals.
Speaking during the weekly cabinet meeting at the President Palace, Anastasiades told Odysseas Michaelides to show “zero tolerance” and that the government’s chief comptroller has the full backing of both the president and the entire council of ministers.
Michaelides, who has been in the public spotlight during the mere two months in office, has unveiled major cases of corruption and abuse of public funds, ranging from excessive overtime pay for public hospitals and exaggerated costs for the purchase of medicines and equipment, to the misappropriation of public and EU-allocated funds for major projects, such as the dormant Cyprus cultural centre.
The Auditor General’s office has in the past been at the frontline of revealing more scandals, such as contracts at state-owned utilities, purchase of land through illegal means, investment, etc.
Attending the cabinet meeting for the first time since taking office, Michaelides was told that no minister will be allowed to close the investigation into any case, as long as the Auditor General has not concluded the probe or exhausted all complaints filed pertaining to that case.
Saying that he will personally support the Auditor General’s work, President Anastasiades said that “I will not allow for any case to be covered up, I will not accept any case to close as long as there are questions pending,” adding that there should stricter checks on the public procurement of consumables, medicines and other products and services.
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