President’s request “humiliates institutions” says Cypriot Attorney General

President’s request “humiliates institutions” says Cypriot Attorney General

Nicosia, April 16, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriakos Penintaex

President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades revoked on Wednesday his intention to examine the possibility of appointing a criminal investigator to look into allegations made by Deputy Attorney General, Rikkos Erotokritou, about corruption.

Erotokritou made his own allegations after independent investigator Panayiotis Kallis concluded that the Deputy has committed bribery.

Attorney General Costas Clerides, however, has said that Erotokritou will be able to present his claims in Court.

In a letter sent earlier today to Clerides, President Anastasiades said he will not proceed with looking into the possibility of appointing a criminal investigator, noting instead that he expects that Clerides himself will take the initiative to examine his Deputy`s allegations.

Addressing the Attorney General, President Anastasiades said he would overlook Clerides` strongly worded statement, which he issued on Tuesday evening, “which I believe was an emotional response and not a well thought out choice.”

He further noted that he never questioned the probe of the independent investigator Panayiotis Kallis, whose inquiry into allegations against Erotokritou suggested that the Deputy Attorney General had been bribed.

“My statement was limited to the grave allegations made by the Deputy Attorney General, which concern other persons apart from Clerides himself,” the President said in his letter, on Wednesday, pointing out that the need to look into these allegations is not directed against Clerides and it should not be interpreted as an attempt to turn those accused into accusers.

The President said he would like to believe that the Attorney General will appoint a criminal investigator or ask the Cabinet to do so.

In his reply Clerides makes it clear that all relevant allegations put forward by Erotokritou can be presented in Court in the context of a judicial process which will follow.

He further points out that his statement yesterday was not emotional but rather a conscious choice which was made after a lot of thought, which he does not retract.

On the contrary, Clerides notes, “my statement aimed to uphold the constitutional order and to defend and protect all relevant institutions including that of the President of the Republic.”

He further says that the President`s call to either appoint or ask for the appointment of criminal investigators would constitute nothing more than a second attempt to damage and or humiliate institutions.

Given that criminal proceedings will commence on the basis of all that was reviewed and concluded by the criminal investigator Panayiotis Kallis, all allegations made by Erotokritou related to the case can be scrutinised by the Court, the Attorney General said in his reply.

“I do not feel that this effort will need the contribution of either the Cabinet or mine,” he added.

In statements he made House of Representatives President Yiannakis Omirou called on all parties to safeguard the Constitution and the institutions, noting that any Parliamentary Committee which felt it necessary could ask for the Kallis report.

Attorney-General Costas Clerides said on Tuesday that an independent probe suggested that his Deputy, Rikkos Erotocritou, was liable to have accepted bribes in 2013.

Ιn a press conference that followed, Erotocritou strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying the allegations are “a conspiracy”. He also said that he intends to continue performing his duties.

Panayiotis Kallis, a former judge, carried out an inquiry into allegations made by former Central Bank Board of Directors Member Stelios Kiliaris that Central Bank Governor Chrystalla Georghadji had during a Board of Directors meeting spoken of an alleged `bribe` Deputy Attorney General had received by Panayiotis Neocleous of the law firm Andreas Neocleous & Co.

In a statement last night, President Anastasiades announced that the Cabinet would look into the appointment of independent criminal investigators to examine the developments at the Law Office of the Republic, which he said, “cause regret and concern”.

The President`s statement prompted a reply from the Attorney-General who said “it’s a shame, a real shame, that with the fostering and contribution of the country’s Supreme Lord those accused turn into accusers.”