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Cyprus Mail: News Articles in English, 01-03-25

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

From: The Cyprus Mail at <http://www.cyprus-mail.com/>


Sunday, March 25, 2001

CONTENTS

  • [01] The fight against nepotism has a long way to go
  • [02] The Net profit CyTA could have made...
  • [03] Bush says US committed to a Cyprus settlement
  • [04] New charges of unpaid loans 'a plot', says Pittokopitis
  • [05] News in brief

  • [01] The fight against nepotism has a long way to go

    Analysis by Makarios Droushiotis.

    ON March 1, parliament approved a law making nepotism a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. With this law the government was attempting to make it clear that it wished to stop a practice that has been rife since independence in 1960.

    A couple of weeks after the law was passed, President Glafcos Clerides launched a personal anti-nepotism drive, instructing all state and semi- government officials to report anyone approaching them for a favour to the police.

    Clerides has also told Police Chief Andreas Angelides to brief him monthly on the number of officials reporting such attempts at interference.

    What remains to be seen is how a police force, which is itself a bastion of favouritism used by politicians to promote personal and or party interests, can carry out such a task.

    The force's ability to fight crime, let alone nepotism, is demonstrated daily by the marked increase in the number of unsolved bomb and arson attacks.

    The competence of the chief of police can be judged by the public every time they see him on television.

    As for his top staff, Deputy Chief Nathanael Papageorgiou and the two Assistant Chiefs, Andreas Stephanou and Yiannakis Philippou, did not even pass the exams for sergeant.

    So if they did not meet the criteria to be sergeants, how did they become chiefs?

    The best way for a fast and secure advancement in the Cyprus police force is “promotion by exemption”.

    In one instance, on February 15, 1978, when Spyros Kyprianou was president (1977-88) 413 officers were promoted to sergeant. This is where today's leadership stems from.

    It is true that Clerides has inherited this state of affairs, but in the eight years of his presidency he has done nothing to rid the force of the malady.

    Instead, he has used the current situation to “take care of his own”.

    The former chief of Clerides' security, Andreas Theophanous, joined the police force on October 20, 1961.

    He served for eight years as a police officer until he was transferred to Clerides' guard. On November 14, 1969 he was promoted to sergeant.

    Since then, and without serving anywhere else, or having any other duty, he has climbed through the ranks and retired as assistant chief of police.

    His advance was very rapid after Clerides came to power in 1993. On March 4, 1994, he was promoted to Superintendent (B).

    According to the regulations, two years had to pass before he could be eligible for another promotion. But on January 1, 1996, Theophanous was promoted to Superintendent (A).

    Before his next two years were up, on September 1, 1997, he was promoted to Chief Superintendent, and then on August 1, 1999, he became assistant chief and subsequently retired.

    Although two years is the minimum time an officer has to serve before being eligible for promotion this does not mean that all officers get promoted.

    Several of Theophanous' colleagues, who joined the force at the same time he did, retired as plain officers.

    The most blatant case of favouritism in the force involves the former chief of police, Andreas Potamaris. He joined the force on October 22, 1959. On November 15, 1969, he became a sergeant and was posted to the guard detail of the then President Makarios.

    While at the palace he met Makarios' sister, Maria Hadjicleanthous, who christened his daughter who was given her godmother's name.

    This relationship did not seem to harm Potamaris' career. On September 1, 1972, Potamaris was promoted to Inspector, a position he held for around five years.

    On January 10, 1977, he became Chief Inspector and just two months later - on March 15, 1977, he was again promoted to Superintendent (B).

    He is the only police officer to have been promoted twice in two months.

    During Kyprianou's tenure, Potamaris became Superintendent (A) on March 1, 1980, Chief Superintendent on February 1, 1984, and Assistant Chief of Police on June 6, 1986.

    The next President, George Vasiliou, appointed him Deputy Chief on January 1, 1991, and six months later Potamaris became the Chief of Police (June 14, 1991).

    It should be noted that when Potamaris became a sergeant in 1969, one Joseph Athanassiou held the rank of Chief Inspector. Potamaris reached the rank of Chief of Police but when Athanassiou retired he was still a Chief Inspector.

    President Clerides, after eight years in office, has done nothing to free the police from the politicians' grasp. Instead, he exhibits a feigned sensitivity for eradicating nepotism, introducing measures which will probably only afflict weak and sometimes naïve citizens who write to the president asking for his help.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [02] The Net profit CyTA could have made...

    By a Staff Reporter

    THE Telecommunications Authority (CyTA) would have benefited to the tune of almost a quarter of a million pounds this year if the House had not forced it to revert to Internet rates it had approved last December, according to one Limassol Deputy.

    United Democrats deputy George Christofides, who led the battle against the new charges imposed by CyTA, said in a statement yesterday that the authority would have netted an extra £240,000 by the end of this year if the new charges had been still in force.

    CyTA had argued that the new rates it imposed would not have made any difference to the island's 27,000 subscribers.

    The House of Representatives last year passed a law setting Internet rates at 1.3 cents per four minutes, but CyTA instead introduced a pricing scheme charging two cents for every six minutes and ten seconds, saying it worked out to the same thing.

    The new pricing scheme, which affected bills in January and February, was considered unfair because every time users logged on to the web they were automatically charged for six minutes and ten seconds, even if they disconnected after just 30 seconds, for example

    CyTA backed down under pressure from the House and reverted to the former rates, but Christofides said that based on information he has collected during the two months when the new charges were implemented, CyTA raked in £38,500. This extra income has now been repaid in the form of deductions from all CyTA subscribers' latest phone bills.

    “If the overcharging had continued Internet subscribers would have paid £240,000 by December this year,” Christofides said.

    CyTA spokesman woman Rita Karatzia said yesterday she was not in a position to comment on the Deputy's claim.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [03] Bush says US committed to a Cyprus settlement

    By a Staff Reporter

    U.S. PRESIDENT George W. Bush has called for a quick resumption of stalled UN talks on the Cyprus problem.

    Addressing Greek community leaders in Washington, to mark today's anniversary of Greek Independence, Bush said he was committed to a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus dispute.

    "Our goal is an early resumption of the UN process," he said. “My administration fully supports the UN Secretary-general's efforts to bring peace and prosperity to all Cypriots.”

    The latest UN process to find a negotiated settlement of the Cyprus problem began in December 1999 with proximity talks between UN envoy Alvaro de Soto, President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The Turkish Cypriot leader has since said he will not return to the talks unless his breakaway regime in the north is recognised.

    Commenting on Greco-Turkish relations, Bush said: "The United States stands ready to help Greece and Turkey as they work to improve their relations."

    "We in the United States consider Greece to be a friend, a strong ally, and a powerful force for good in the world. And the world will see this in vivid display when Athens hosts the Olympics of 2004. We're all looking forward to the great event.”

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [04] New charges of unpaid loans 'a plot', says Pittokopitis

    By George Psyllides

    JUST ONE day after it was heard in a House committee that DIKO deputy Nicos Pittokopitis may not have repaid a £93,000 overdraft he took out last year from a bank he chaired, press reports yesterday claimed that the instalments of a loan taken out by five DIKO members, including himself, from the same bank, have gone unpaid for seven years.

    Earlier this month the outspoken deputy admitted to borrowing £93,000 from the Paphos Hellenic Co-operative Bank, exceeding his overdraft limit of £30, 000. But he insisted that he had repaid the loan before the deadline last December 30.

    But on Friday, Commerce Minister Nicos Rolandis revealed to the House Watchdog Committee that the cabinet was investigating allegations the money had not yet been paid back.

    Even before the dust had settled, the daily Alithia yesterday revealed that Pittokopitis was one of five DIKO members who took out a loan for £25, 000 in 1994 and who have not paid a cent in repayment instalments since.

    The loan now stands at £39,000, Alithia said.

    According to the daily, Pittokopitis has conceded he did indeed take out a loan, saying he gave instructions for payment of his share of the loan.

    Pittokopitis, the third highest ranking member of DIKO, did not say why nothing was paid for seven years, claiming instead that the revelations were part of a plot to destroy him politically and hurt the party.

    “Those who want to eliminate Pittokopitis, will not get the pleasure,” he said. “That right belongs only to the people of Paphos,” he was quoted as saying in Alithia.

    Meanwhile the cabinet on Friday appointed an investigative committee to look into the accounts of the bank.

    The overdraft story became public when a report drafted by the co-operative movement's audit service was leaked to the press earlier this month.

    It said that accounts belonging to the members of the bank showed overdrafts in excess of £93,000.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001

    [05] News in brief

    Two held after credit card thefts

    POLICE have detained two Limassol men in connection with the alleged use of foreign credit cards to steal £14,800.

    The cards were used on Thursday at a jewellery shop in Limassol for the amount of £8,000 and the following night at a nightclub for £6,800.

    Police arrested the 38-year-old owner of the jewellery shop, and the 27- year-old owner of the nightclub.

    Man 'hit police with metal rod'

    A 22-year-old man was yesterday arrested on suspicion of injuring two police officers after a Limassol basketball game.

    The man allegedly attacked the officers, who were escorting the referee to the locker-room, and hit them with a metal rod.

    The officers were taken to hospital for treatment and later discharged.

    Police radio stolen

    A 37-year-old Limassol man was arrested early yesterday after a policeman was attacked and his walkie-talkie was stolen.

    The man was stopped by police at around 4.25am for a routine check. One officer approached the man's car and was trying to identify himself when the suspect allegedly grabbed his radio and pushed him away.

    He then jumped back into his vehicle and sped off.

    Fifteen minutes later a man went to a hotel and dropped the radio off at the reception desk. Police picked up the radio from the hotel and arrested the man later.

    Copyright Cyprus Mail 2001


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