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High-ranking officials accused of abusing state housing

A Cypriot MP has said that government housing in Troodos is being “scandalously” abused by high-ranking state officials, while some properties have been sub-let to the private sector at ‘outrageously low’ rates.

GOVERNMENT housing in Troodos is being let at outrageously low rates, as a result of which rent revenues barely meet the cost of upkeep, lawmakers heard yesterday.

In some 20 documented cases, residential lodgings are being sub-let to the private sector for between €3 and €5 a year for a period of 99 years, the House Watchdog Committee was told.

Moreover, state property in Troodos is being used by private-sector individuals for commercial uses, including as hotels, kiosks and restaurants.

The annual rent for the two hotels in question amounts to €20,000 and €30,000, whereas long-term leasing for residences and restaurants comes to €5.10 and €3.40 per annum, respectively.

Some 50 residential lodgings are being used by civil servants, senior state officials, police officers, post office employees, Forestry Department personnel, and by bodyguards of the President and the House Speaker.

Deputies heard that from 2005 to 2011 the state received €1.1 million from renting out these properties; the cost of maintenance was about €1 million, not including billable man-hours.

A Finance Ministry official told MPs the government is drafting legislation revising the rental rates for residential lodgings.

Greens MP George Perdikis said that the mismanagement of state property in Troodos has led to it operating at a loss.

Moreover, government housing is being “scandalously” abused by high-ranking state officials, he said.

EDEK deputy Fidias Sarikas proposed that the lodgings be administered by a private company.

Readers' comments

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  • Odd_Job_Bob says:

    I thought I just had to comment on this one as it is so clearly in the vein of all preceding (and, unfortunately, to follow).

    Has anyone seen the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto?

    It starts with a quote from Will Durant that goes like this: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within”.

    Is anyone reading this article surprised at this scam? As Jim and Adrian indicate below, this is probably only “tip of the iceberg” stuff and is completely consistent with where Cyprus is heading. Each tiny bit of “irregularity” of State financing compounds and in the end, a bankrupt nation entices outside forces to precipitate its collapse.

    Durant continues though: “In the end a society and its religion tend to fall together ….. in a harmonious death. Meanwhile among the oppressed another myth arises, gives new form to human hope, new courage to human effort, and after centuries of chaos builds another civilization.”

    I’m not hanging round for that long…

  • Steve says:

    This smacks of Russian communism – special perks for the boys, while everyone else is starving. Hang on a minute, doesn’t President Christofias speak Russian and have lots of Russian contacts whom he is trying to borrow money from?

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Adrian says:

    If there is a scam going you can bet that some civil servant will know about it but they will not always reveal it to the public scrutiny because its a case of they all have some fiddle or other and “if you tell on me I will tell on you”. what is needed is a confidential “shopping” line but I can’t see that happening until there is a responsible government in power who will make the hard decisions.

  • Jim says:

    I am sure if anyone in authority was interested, they could easily find dozens of similar abuses of power. The trick is, making sure they only reveal the abuses they are not involved in.

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