Government pledges to combat corruption

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President Nicos Anastasiades appeared determined to fortify the country from corruption while calling on parliament to pass bills related to transparency in public life.

As the government seeks to improve its image in the wake of a public outcry over state corruption involving high ranking officials, President Anastasiades met a number of state officials to discuss ways of tackling sleaze.

At the meeting, government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said, the President had “expressed his determination and political will to protect, to the highest degree possible, our country from corruption”.

Koushos said the President has asked all high-ranking officials and authorities to assist towards this direction.

The meeting was attended by the House Speaker, Adamos Adamou, Attorney General George Savvides and his deputy, Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis, Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides, chairman of the Bar association, head of the anti-money laundering unit (MOKAS), and the internal audit commissioner.

Anastasiades urged the House to speed up the approval process of pending bills while asking for recommendations made by international bodies to be adopted as soon as possible.

The government has come under fire following an undercover Al Jazeera sting operation portraying the then House Speaker Demetris Syllouris and AKEL MP Christakis Giovanis, appearing ready to help a dodgy Chinese investor to secure Cypriot citizenship.

Both have since resigned, with a police investigation into their actions underway.

Despite the fact the video did not make any reference to a government official, it did, however, shoot down the government’s that Cyprus was unfairly targeted over its citizenship by investment programme from foreign media and the EU itself.

Anastasiades is to meet NGOs on Monday to hear their views on the issue

He will announce several measures which are to be announced sometime next week.

International bodies have warned Cyprus to take more measures to combat corruption and money laundering.

In 2019, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) said Cyprus was among countries that have not fully complied with its recommendations on corruption prevention.

Cyprus has also failed to comply with the EU’s latest anti-money laundering directive, which, according to the Commission, leaves a legal gap that could be exploited at the expense of the Union.