Intervention by the General Secretary of AKEL S.Stefanou on the government appointments of advisors on RIK television
18 May 2023, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
During his appearance on RIK’s morning programme, the General Secretary of AKEL commented on the issue of the government’s appointment of advisors and its handling of the matter.
S.Stefanou stated that the distortion in relation to the government appointments was created by the previous government. During the previous government’s term of office there was not this array of advisors and cronies at the Presidency and Ministries.
The General Secretary of AKEL recalled that there is a law on horizontal mobility in the civil service since 2017 so as to enable various posts and departments in the public and wider public sector to be staffed. However, the previous government used this law to satisfy its cronies only and at the same time it proceeded to an unprecedented number of appointments that were not made to cover logical needs that existed, but to satisfy cronies.
During the Demetris Christofias administration, as S.Stefanou pointed out, three people had been hired through purchase of services procedures, two of whom were members of the Negotiating Team [on the Cyprus problem]. In fact for them to offer their services, each time Parliament had to approve the relevant funds that DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos and former DISY President Averof Neophytou were freezing.
It is logical, as the General Secretary of AKEL said, that the President of the Republic and his Ministers should hire people to provide their services as advisors. Before the Anastasiades government, these needs were usually covered by secondments. Subsequently – under the Anastasiades government – there was an agreement so that Ministers could hire advisors with funds of up to €62,000, as well as at the Presidential Palace for which no amount was set.
“When in the process the issue was taken too far on the part of those in government, with AKEL playing a leading role in the Parliamentary Finance Committee, the issue of criteria and regulations was raised,” S.Stefanou noted.
“The government made promises to regulate the whole issue, but nothing was done. Finally, to absorb the shocks from the various scandals that broke out, the Anastasiades government, in 2019, took a decision on the formulas, which it subsequently revoked,” St. Stefanou said.
In relation to the government’s legislative initiative now announced, the General Secretary of AKEL noted that this initiative must be implemented before the so-called advisors are hired. He even wondered what its value would be if the recruitments will have been made and cannot be scrutinised. The same goes for the Advisory Council, he suggested, saying that “First you set up the bodies that will propose or oversee and then you proceed with hiring.”
The government is shifting the problems elsewhere when the government spokesman claims we have important issues to deal with. The issue of appointments is an important issue too. It reveals the character and quality of a government. It is Mr. Christodoulides himself who said that he represented something new and that we would have transparency and procedures in place. It is DIKO leader Mr. Papadopoulos who said he wanted to see a change from the most corrupt government Cyprus has ever had.
“I would expect the government and the parties that support it to admit that in the cases of the Christodoulides government’s appointments mistakes have been made and that this must be corrected and not seek an alibi – let alone lie,” Stefanos Stefanou pointed out.
The General Secretary of AKEL went on to say that, “The case of the appointment of the 19-year-old was a continuation of the appointment that was made to the Public Service Commission. Was it not considered fundamental and necessary to check the qualifications of the person they were hiring? This was evidently not done because if that was done they would have realized that these supposed degrees from fake universities do not exist. Consequently, the appointments are not made on the basis of serious criteria and facts, but on the basis of who is a crony/party client.”
In conclusion, the General Secretary of AKEL said, “This government is continuing the same policy of the previous one, while DISY’s criticism provokes anger, given that the current administration is continuing on the same path as they themselves taught.”