Cypriot MPs promise to clean up their act

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Scolded by an anti-corruption report, Cypriot MPs say they will approve pending legislation that scrutinises their assets, incomes and links to lobbying groups.

The House Ethics Committee said it aims to have the pending bills tabled for a vote at the plenary before the dissolution of Parliament ahead of the next May’s parliamentary elections.

Cyprus MPs need to adopt a code of conduct to prevent corruption by addressing conflict of interests and lobbying influence, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) report said.

It also recommended – in light of the golden passports scandal – that MPs’ asset declaration should be more comprehensive while control over such declarations needs strengthening.

GRECO said fully implementing these recommendations has become “all the more pressing” after two senior MPs were caught in an Al Jazeera sting operation appearing to facilitate a Cyprus passport for a criminal Chinese investor.

Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis has also criticised the parliament for dragging its feet over such reforms promoted by the government.

Committee chair Zacharias Zachariou Zachariou said the matters raised in the most recent GRECO report concern a code of conduct for MPs, the declaration of assets, income, liabilities and interests of people holding public office and regulating lobbying.

He said the committee completed the code of conduct discussion which will now be sent to the parliamentary political groups to express their position on the code at a meeting set for December 9.

The code of conduct will then be tabled for a vote in the plenary session.

Parliamentary elections are held every five years in Cyprus. The last one took place on May 22, 2016.

The report said that out of 16 recommendations from 2016, seven have been fully implemented, six remain partly implemented and three have not been implemented.

GRECO’s second compliance report assesses measures taken by Cyprus to implement these recommendations concerning corruption prevention for MPs, judges and prosecutors.