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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 99-11-05

Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>


  • [01] Limassol police shake up in wake of pink slip scandal
  • [02] Let's talk about the Cyprus problem every week
  • [03] Markides hits out at deputies over Athinis acquittal
  • [04] Diko leadership accused of selling out its members
  • [05] Shares inch higher as market consolidates
  • [06] Relatives angry missing information was not known

  • [01] Limassol police shake up in wake of pink slip scandal

    By Martin Hellicar

    THE JUSTICE Ministry yesterday ordered a radical reshuffle at Limassol police headquarters in the wake of the pink slip scandal.

    Among those demoted is Limassol police chief Miltiades Neocleous. He starts a new job in the Limassol police headquarters inspectorate on Monday. Replacing Neocleous will be assistant Larnaca police chief Charalambos Koulermos.

    The announcement of the personnel changes was seen as an attempt to clean up the Limassol force's image, tarnished by the recent arrest of three of its officers in connection with alleged corrupt visa practices.

    Limassol officers Efstathios Theodorou, Demetris Himonas and Pelopidas Evgeniades were arrested last month following the launch of a police probe into alleged corrupt pink slip practices. Three senior officers were tasked to look into information that police officers and others in positions of power were abating underworld prostitution rackets by providing pink slips for foreign cabaret artistes, some of them forged.

    Other senior Limassol officers also felt the impact of yesterday's image polishing exercise.

    Assistant police chief Nicos Stelikos was transferred to the relative backwater of Paphos, to take up an identical position there. Yiannakis Iliades, also an assistant police chief, was downgraded to deputy chief of Limassol port police.

    Assistant Paphos police chief Demetrios Christodoulou replaces Stelikos, while George Papageorgiou, head of the Limassol police control centre, replaces Iliades.

    Several other, less senior, officers were also shifted yesterday.

    Nicolaides refused to comment on his being demotion yesterday, but rumour was rife that he was considering resigning from the force. Reports suggested Nicolaides felt he was being unfairly tarred with the same brush as his three arrested subordinates. A number of other prominent figures are suspected of involvement in the visas scam.

    Immigration chief Christodoulos Nicolaides has been charged with accepting bribes to 'fix' pink slips for foreign workers.

    Also in the dock in connection with the police probe are senior immigration officer Nicos Vakanas, former Disy organisational secretary Andreas Tsangarides and the twin brother of Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades, Bambos.

    [02] Let's talk about the Cyprus problem every week

    By Athena Karsera

    THE HOUSE of Representatives decided yesterday that it would be a good idea to debate the Cyprus problem at every meeting of the plenum.

    From November 25, time will therefore be set aside every week to discuss the national issue.

    The decision was sparked towards the end of last night's session when House President Spyros Kyprianou began discussing recent developments in the Cyprus problem during a speech on an unrelated issue.

    The Diko leader had begun speaking about the recent murder of enclaved man Stelios Harpas; Kyprianou then broadened his vision to the increasing number of settlers in the occupied areas, before letting deputies know what he thought about prospects for a resumption of stalled negotiations between the two communities.

    As Kyprianou completed his speech, veteran Edek leader Vassos Lyssarides suggested time ought to made for the Cyprus problem on a more regular basis: "I hope that this issue can remain on our agenda every week," he said.

    Kyprianou warmly welcomed the idea, as did those deputies still present in the chamber.

    Edek's Demetris Iliades backed the proposal, saying other issues often got left behind when they were overtaken by unscheduled digressions on the Cyprus problem.

    The topic now looks set for inscription on the agenda every week under the title, "The current phase of the Cyprus problem".

    [03] Markides hits out at deputies over Athinis acquittal

    By Martin Hellicar

    ATTORNEY-GENERAL Alecos Markides yesterday lashed out at the House Legal Affairs committee, claiming it was responsible for the release of two murder suspects on a legal technicality.

    On Wednesday, Markides ordered that charges against two of the five accused in the Hambis Aeroporos murder trial be dropped after the Supreme Court ruled key evidence against them was inadmissible.

    Markides was obviously not happy to see cabaret owner Sotiris Athinis, 43, and his 51-year-old sister Zoe Alexandrou - who had denied charges of conspiring to murder 36-year-old Hambis - walk free.

    Had the committee got its act together and sent two bills updating the evidence law to the plenum for approval, then the Supreme Court would not have thrown out the evidence against Athinis and Alexandrou, Markides maintained.

    The higher court upheld a defence objection to the prosecution's use as evidence of numbers stored in the memory of a mobile phone abandoned by the three hit men at the scene of the December 16 murder.

    The prosecution had told the criminal court the numbers stored in the mobile phone would prove there had been contact between Athinis, Alexandrou and the other accused in the run-up to the shooting.

    Markides said the relevant legal amendments had been tabled before the House committee years ago and that they should have been forwarded to the plenum long since.

    "I presented the bill to all parties, and was left with the impression that the matter would be viewed very positively. I sent the two bills to the cabinet, and the cabinet approved them," Markides said.

    He dismissed committee claims that the bills were "fragmented", and said committee members had a duty to forward the amendments to the plenum even if they did not agree with them.

    He suggested the Legal Affairs committee was over-stepping its authority.

    "The committee has repeatedly stated that it won't vote for the bills and that I must send them another version, but does the committee speak for the House?"

    Committee members were outraged by Markides' outburst.

    Akel deputy Yiannakis Agapiou summed up the mood when he said the Attorney-general's stance was improper and insulting to the committee.

    The committee feels that, as a public official, Markides should not have launched such an attack.

    Deputies intend to invite Markides to the next committee session to seek explanations.

    Three suspects remain on trial for the Limassol murder of Hambis Aeroporos, believed to be part of a gangland turf war. One of the accused, waiter Prokopis Prokopiou, 35, has admitted to shooting Hambis and is to be sentenced at a later date. Former policeman Christos Symianos, 35, and former special constable Savvas Ioannou, alias Kinezos, 33, deny charges of pulling the trigger on Hambis.

    [04] Diko leadership accused of selling out its members

    By George Psyllides

    THERE was turmoil in opposition Diko yesterday after members of the party accused their leader of selling them out.

    The spat began when the Secretary of the Nicosia District Committee, Alecos Tryfonides, sent a letter to party leader Spyros Kyprianou, accusing the leadership of selling out grass-roots members whenever it suited its interests.

    In his letter, Tryfonides, whose views are thought to reflect those of a substantial number of party members, accuses Kyprianou of scheming with the governing Disy leadership to obtain specific returns.

    Tryfonides claims there were backstage exchanges between Kyprianou and Disy leader Nicos Anastassiades to secure the chairmanship of the House Finance Committee for Kyprianou's son Markos.

    Tryfonides claims that, in return, Diko agreed to approve the government's tax package in parliament.

    The House of Representatives passed the tax package two weeks ago.

    Diko deputies Nicos Pittokopitis, Nicos Cleanthous and Zacharias Koulias nevertheless voted against the taxes, while Tassos Papadopoulos, Markos Kyprianou, Nicos Moushiouttas, Marios Matsakis and Spyros Kyprianou all voted for the package.

    Kyprianou yesterday threatened the three dissidents with disciplinary action for disobeying party orders in the vote.

    But Cleanthous dismissed the threat, saying the three had simply been following the party's decision to reject the government's first tax package, rejected by parliament in May 1998.

    "There is no disciplinary issue because those deputies who voted against the taxes this time, did what had been decided by the party the first time," Cleanthous said.

    "The first time, we voted against the package because that is what the party's executive office had decided," he added.

    [05] Shares inch higher as market consolidates

    By Hamza Hendawi

    BANK shares, the market's traditional shakers and movers, were battered yesterday for the second consecutive day, while the market as a whole continued a display of resilience to edge up to a new all-time high.

    The all-share index was up 0.27 per cent to close at 656.82. The small increase followed Wednesday's 0.05 per cent rise, suggesting that the market was consolidating, although interest appears for the moment to be shifting away from the blue chips of the banks.

    The Bank of Cyprus, by far the market's number one share in terms of capitalisation, shed 30 cents to take to 82 cents its combined losses over two days. It closed at 10.73 on a turnover of 405,879 shares valued at 4.36 million.

    The Popular Bank was the only financial institution to close higher on Wednesday, but it had no such luck yesterday. It closed eight cents down at 12.97. Hellenic Bank was up three cents, closing at 4.58, while Universal Bank became 70.50 cents lighter yesterday to compound the effects of a 20-cent depreciation on Wednesday.

    The banks sub-index closed 1.66 per cent down at 739.75 with trade valued at nearly 10 million, out of a total volume of 38.01 million.

    The only other market sector to finish down was the 'other companies', whose undisputed star of late, Louis Cruise Lines, fell by 26.50 cents to close at 7.63 on a turnover of nearly 500,000 shares valued at 3.73 million. The sector's sub-index was down 1.36 per cent at 720.68.

    But the sun was shining on the three titles of the trading sector, where Nicos Shacolas' Woolworth and CTC together with Orphanides Supermarkets enjoyed a field day.

    Orphanides, already with super stores in Larnaca, Limassol and Paralimni, is opening its first outlet in Nicosia tomorrow, a hypermarket on the southern edge of the city. The share was up 42 cents to close at 4.72 with more than 1 million in trade.

    The company has maintained an exceptionally high profile in recent weeks through an aggressive advertising campaign promoting the new Nicosia hypermarket, which is expected to give tough competition to the capital's existing large food retailers Charalambides, Woolworth and Pilavakis.

    Woolworth, meanwhile, rose by 58 cents yesterday to close at 6.35 one day after the company announced that it was going to put proposals for a share split and a rights issue to shareholders later this month.

    CTC, which closed up 33 cents at 4.92, said on Wednesday it was planning a rights issue of its own.

    [06] Relatives angry missing information was not known

    By Jean Christou

    RELATIVES of the missing are outraged that crucial information on the fate of a 16-year-old whose death was only confirmed on Tuesday was in fact available all along.

    It was only after this week's identification of the remains of Zinon Zinonos, buried with hundreds of other people at a Nicosia cemetery in 1974, that another Greek Cypriot came forward with information.

    Dr Nearchos Roussos, who was in the National Guard during the invasion, says he tended to Zinonos' wounds when he was hit by a Turkish bullet in the Omorphita suburb of Nicosia on July 21, 1974.

    Roussos said he had taken the 16-year-old to Nicosia General Hospital, where a doctor later informed him that the youth was dead.

    He said he was never questioned by the authorities after the war, and had not realised until this week that the Zinonos on the list of 1,619 missing persons was the boy to whom he had tended.

    For 25 years, Zinonos was listed as having last been seen in Omorphita after kissing his family goodbye.

    Government Spokesman Michalis Papapetrou yesterday expressed shock and surprise over Roussos' testimony, and said the government would be examining the issue.

    "There is a political will for any grave to be opened where there is a question that there are people buried there whose identity we do not know," he said.

    But Nicos Theodosiou, co-chairman of the committee for relatives of missing persons told the Cyprus Mail he had a series of pressing questions for the government.

    "I am absolutely angry," he said. "It is completely ridiculous what that family had to go through when the information was there."

    Theodosiou conceded that when people were questioned after a war there were bound to be some gaps. "You can't cover everything, but the question is how big a gap is excusable," he said.

    He said he expected the government's stance would be that Zinonos was a volunteer and not a registered soldier, meaning army reports on the hostilities would have overlooked his case after the war.

    "But this is not god enough for me," Theodosiou said.

    "If somebody knew, then it is not right. He was on the list of missing persons because we did not know this information. If I had known this, he would not have been on the list and his poor mother would not have been running around all these years at demonstrations."

    Roussos told the CyBC yesterday how he found Zinonos on the ground, mortally wounded by a Turkish bullet on July 21, 1974.

    "I looked at his wound. It was a very small, but it was bleeding badly. I took my shirt off and made a bandage to stop the blood and put him on my shoulder to head for the hospital," Roussos said.

    He said the unit had notified an ambulance, which was on its way; but because of the fighting, nothing was sure, so Roussos, then 23, continued to carry the boy towards Nicosia when the ambulance met them at Vorios Polos.

    Roussos said a nurse helped her put Zinonos into the ambulance and take him to the hospital. He said he gave the nurse details of the boy's identity. Later a doctor told him that the youth had died.

    Asked why he had not come forward before, Roussos said he had seen the name Zinonos on the missing list, but that the list said he had been arrested by the Turks.

    "I never thought it was the same Zinonos until I heard it yesterday on television," he said. "We had given his name to the ambulance. We knew his name."

    Theodosiou said relatives now wanted a new round of enquiries on whether anyone might have seen anything in 1974 that might confirm that missing persons are in fact dead.

    "We believe it's time for a new round of questioning by the government," he said.

    © Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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