Justice Ministry introduces authority to combat corruption
The Justice Ministry is setting in motion the creation of an independent authority to combat corruption.
The ministry has prepared a bill which will see the establishment of a body consisting of a Transparency Commissioner and two assistants which are to be appointed by the president and are to act independently.
The development comes after a recommendation from The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body GRECO.
A Justice Ministry official told the Financial Mirror that the creation of such a body was also deemed necessary after the latest scandals involving high ranking civil servants and police officers.
The purpose of the independent authority is to undertake the necessary initiatives and actions to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of public services, the general public and the private sector, on the prevention and fight against corruption as recommended by GRECO.
It will also be designated to be the Competent Authority to coordinate the fight against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activity affecting the financial interests of the EU and will be cooperating with the European Anti-Fraud Office and other international organizations, bodies and departments of the EU. Furthermore, it will have the authority to coordinate, supervise and evaluate the actions of state, wider public and private sector agencies regarding the prevention and suppression of corruption.
At the same time, it will carry out studies, issue circulars to the competent authorities, and take measures within its remit to ensure its mission and publish articles for information and education purposes. The authority will also be in charge of producing corruption in the country.
It will have the authority to act and investigate cases independently, but also on the command of the cabinet.
The Authority and its staff will neither seek nor take instructions from the government or any bodies, authorities or any other person, while carrying out their responsibilities.
According to Greco, Cyprus has satisfactorily implemented only two of the 16 recommendations contained in an evaluation report. Of the remaining recommendations, eight have been partly implemented and six have not been implemented, a compliance report published on Thursday said. It is calling for more transparency on how judges in Cyprus are appointed while a more stringent code of conduct for MPs is needed.