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Conflicts with institutions continue

15/12/2015 11:38
It took 21 months to the Presidency to come in full conflict with constitutionally independent institutions.

The Auditor General, appointed by the President Nicos Anastasiades in March 2014, is the fourth independent officer to collide with the executive authority.

A few days after the election of Mr. Anastasiades as the president of the Republic in March 2013, the government faced the former CB Governor Panicos Demetriades, who resigned after six months of investigations by the Attorney General on the possibility of criminal offenses.

He was succeeded in March 2014 by Chrystalla Georghadji with whom a confrontation also broke out only a year after her appointment.

A request for her cessation by the special court of the Supreme Court is pending – a request that the general prosecution has been processing for eight months.

This was followed by a rupture between the President of the Republic and the Attorney General Costas Clerides on the occasion of the case regarding the former assistant general prosecutor Rikkos Erotokritou. After accusations from Erotokritou towards Clerides, which were finally withdrawn, the government considered it appropriate to support the former assistant.

Since then, the legal service does not have the best relationship with the presidency, although technically it keeps the procedure for Mrs. Georghadji’s dismissal on the "plug".

Yesterday, in support of the minister of interior Socrates Hasikos in his public feud with the Auditor General, the Cabinet issued an announcement essentially opening a conflict front, this time with Odysseas Michaelides.

In its announcement the Cabinet accused the Auditor General that with his actions and public behaviors he undermines the seriousness and credibility of the institution of audit service. The cabinet even raised a constitutional issue stating that the conduct of Mr. Michaelides "go either beyond his constitutional powers, or constitute an interference in the role and work of other independent officials or constitute an engagement in the role of the executive authority ".

A few hours later, with an announcement of the audit service, the Auditor General attacked back by stating categorically that the service has never interfered in the work of the executive authority.

He directly criticized the cabinet that its statement is vague and does not mention in any way actions of the Auditor General that go beyond his constitutional powers.

The Attorney General Costas Clerides made an intervention in the conflict between the cabinet and the Auditor General yesterday with a written statement, criticizing the Government’s attitude. He pointed out that "the announcement of the cabinet which identifies reprehensible acts and behaviors of the general auditor, similar to those alleged by the interior minister, who is a cabinet member, is rightly seen as tending to prejudge the outcome of the examination which has already started and would be continued by the attorney general".

Yesterday morning, the interior minister sent evidence to the Attorney General against the audit authority in relation to the case of Kofinou slaughterhouse, for investigation.

The new conflict between the government and the Auditor General has caused the strong reaction of opposition parties which fiercely criticized the government.

They supported the institution of the audit service and accused the government of interfering once again in the work of an independent institution.