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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Mayor Sav­vas Ver­gas, who is serv­ing an eight-day re­mand or­der pend­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions in lo­cal af­fairs, re­signed on Tues­day with Paphos now headed to by­elec­tions on Jan­uary 11.

His decision, con­veyed by lawyers to In­te­rior Min­is­ter Socratis Hasikos, helps re­solve an im­passe cre­ated by Ver­gas’ in­volve­ment in sev­eral cases in the town that has also seen a chain of cor­rup­tion scan­dals be­ing re­vealed by the day.

Hasikos said that by-elec­tions will be held 45 days from the day the post has been va­cated.

The mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil is presently be­ing Deputy Mayor Makis Rous­sis.

On Mon­day, Hasikos said that the miss­ing mil­lions at the Paphos Sew­er­age Board (SAPA) may be “the tip of the ice­berg” and that many more peo­ple may be in­volved in the bribes and graft re­lated to the mat­ter.

Mayor and ex-of­fi­cio chair­man of the SAPA board, Sav­vas Ver­gas, as well as SAPA Man­ager Efty­chios Malekides and for­mer DISY coun­cil­man Gior­gos Michaelides were held on an eight-day court re­mand last Thurs­day as the po­lice and state au­dit ser­vices in­ves­ti­gate al­leged cases of bribery, cor­rup­tion and in­fla­tion of bud­gets that has left the project at a stand­still and the coastal town look­ing like a per­ma­nent work site.

The whole project, that in­cludes the nearby vil­lages of Kis­son­erga, Chlo­rakas, Emba, Peyia, etc., should have cost EUR 78 mln to com­plete and con­trac­tors have said the cost has al­ready risen to 109 mln, with some com­mu­ni­ties

chaired

by con­sid­er­ing cut­ting off go­ing it alone.

“You must re­alise that even when the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic places him­self un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, con­sider how far this can go. We have great faith in the in­ves­ti­gat­ing au­thor­i­ties, the po­lice, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s of­fice, and if some peo­ple have to be taken to court, so be it,” Hasikos told re­porters on Sun­day.

Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades told Au­di­tor Gen­eral Odysseas Michaelides when re­ceiv­ing the lat­ter’s an­nual re­port for 2013 last week that no one should be spared from pub­lic scru­tiny, let alone the first cit­i­zen of the Repub­lic.

Ver­gas had been pre­vi­ously charged with in­volve­ment in the trans­mis­sion of threat­en­ing SMS mes­sages to de­vel­oper Theodoros Aris­tode­mou, whose company Aristo is al­leged to have con­ducted il­licit zon­ing deals in co­op­er­a­tion with lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials.

Hasikos said that the re­form of lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion is also at an ad­vanced stage. “The po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the Union of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have sub­mit­ted their own counter pro­pos­als. The Min­istry will con­sider all op­tions in con­nec­tion with the draft leg­is­la­tion we have al­ready sub­mit­ted. I hope we will find a com­pro­mise so­lu­tion that will see the bill head to par­lia­ment, as all the sug­ges­tions so far con­tain a lot of pos­i­tive as­pects.”

Adding that this is not a mat­ter of the Min­is­ter adding wa­ter to his wine, Hasikos said he be­lieves the draft bill may be ready by the end of the year.

all ties to SAP and

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