President to unveil anti-corruption reform package

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will present in the coming days a package of proposals to aimed at combating corruption in public life by strengthening transparency, accountability, and the justice system.

Deputy government spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said the President made the declaration after a meeting at the Presidential Palace with representatives of civil society on issues of corruption.

Anastasiades met with representatives of civil society to hear their views on further actions to enhance transparency to fight corruption.

It followed from a meeting he convened last week with institutional bodies on the same issue.

Corruption in public life has risen to the top of the political agenda after an AKEL MP and the House Speaker resigned when captured on video willing to facilitate a Cyprus passport for a Chinese investor with a criminal record.

The passport for investment scheme has been scrapped since the Al Jazeera video was broadcast.

Critics argue that no legal protection for whistle-blowers, long delays in delivering justice and a lack of transparency in government are all factors that allow corruption to thrive.

According to Sentonas, during Monday’s meeting, President Anastasiades conveyed his determination and political will to take action in strengthening the institutional framework of accountability, enhance transparency and to more effectively fight corruption.

He made extensive reference to the recommendations in reports of international organisations such as GRECO, Moneyval and the European Commission, briefing participants on their implementation.

“The proposals submitted both at last Friday`s meeting attended by institutional actors, as well as the proposals submitted today will be taken seriously into account,” said Sentonas.

“They will be part of a comprehensive package of proposals that will be publicly presented by the President shortly, to serve and enhance transparency, accountability and the rule of law,” he added.

On behalf of NGO Cyprus Integrity Forum and the other organisations that participated, Marios Skandalis said there was a common understanding that to fight corruption in Cyprus, a holistic approach and strategic planning is needed.

This entails measures to prevent and not only to react to revelations about corruption.

He expressed the readiness of the social groups to support the government and other partners to finally achieve this goal.