THE STATE owes some €600 million because of obligations created by expropriating land, Interior Minister Eleni Mavrou said on Friday after the Paphos Land Registry was visited by bailiffs.
“It’s impossible to pay this,” Mavrou said.
She said that the money owed “included small obligations but also very large obligations” and the Cabinet had already met to decide how to proceed.
The need for action was highlighted on Thursday when bailiffs acting on the strength of a court warrant, walked into the Paphos Land Registry and stripped it bare of anything that wasn’t nailed down.
What happened was that a writ of movables was issued – a court order allowing bailiffs to take possession of the movables and sell them in a private auction to compensate creditors.
If more money needs to be collected, bailiffs will go on looking for more to confiscate on the strength of the same warrant, the Cyprus Mail was told.
Mavrou confirmed that the action was related to the Paphos-Polis road, a project which has been discussed for almost a decade and for which the state paid €140 million in compensation to property owners for land expropriation.
Around two thirds of the owed compensation has already been paid, Mavrou said but added there had been people waiting for their compensation for some three years.
So “people sought warrants”. “I understand that some people may be depending on the money coming from this compensation,” Mavrou said.
So we will “gather all data of owed money for requisitions,” she said adding that they would be meeting with all relevant bodies to evaluate the situation” and set more specific standards on the priority with which people are compensated”.
Part of the reason this is more urgent is that although people used to get 9.0 per cent as interest for compensation owed, the interest is now 4.0 per cent, Mavrou said.
“There’s people that in the process of expropriation, they may have lost their only land property, and may be depending on this money and waiting for many years (to get their money),” Mavrou said.
For those people, the lower interest rate might lead them to seek their money in the courts.
Mavrou said they were considering returning some of the expropriated land. But a landowner has the option to refuse to take the land back and take the state to court. Landowners can also protest the amount offered to them in compensation. “No matter what’s done it has to be done within the next few months,” Mavrou said.