Corruption is poisoning society
Corruption is one of the biggest plagues Cypriot society faces today. Corruption poisons everything. It undermines the rule of law, democracy and social justice. It gravely distorts the functioning of the economy to the benefit of the powerful and the cronies. It burdens the people and the state with millions of euros that should be channeled to the needs of society. It keeps society stagnant as it does not reward honesty, hard work and creativity, but instead kickbacks and interwoven interests. It causes depreciation and erodes political life. It destroys institutions like football. It generates anger and frustration among our country’s young people.
The government, instead of combating, plays the leading part in corruption
Corruption is a phenomenon deeply rooted and longstanding since, in our perception, it is inherent in capitalism itself, a system based on exploitation and the glorification of wealth and individualism. However, in recent years Cyprus has experienced an unprecedented explosion in corruption. Numerous reports have been issued by international organizations, EU institutions, non-governmental organizations and foreign agencies on the unprecedented escalation of corruption in Cyprus, namely from the day that Nikos Anastasiades and DISY took over the government of the country. A recent World Bank report notes that since 2013, Cyprus has recorded the biggest increase in corruption across the EU. This is no coincidence.
The avalanche of scandals with the passport sales industry that are shaming Cyprus around the world bears the mark of the Anastasiades government. The Troika Laundromat implicates the law firm of Nikos Anastasiades in money laundering cases. The defense witness of the former Assistant Attorney General convicted of corruption was President Anastasiades himself. So when the government is the protagonist in them, how can one expect accountability, transparency and good administration in the state, the government, the state machinery and in in the institutions? In other words, at a time when the universal demand of society is the waging of a relentless battle against corruption, the government of our country neither wants, nor indeed can recognize and combat the phenomena of corruption and interwoven interests.
The phenomena of corruption and interwoven interests are alien to the ideology and values of the Left and must not be tolerated in any way within our spectrum. AKEL raises the bar of honesty, ethics and cleanness for the operation of the Party itself, but also for its militants. In parallel with the daily education of its members with these values, the Party is constantly taking measures that enhance transparency in its operation.
AKEL presents one after the other, within the foreseen schedules, in full compliance with the international accounting standards and with absolute transparency the financial statements of the Central Committee, the Party District Committees and Branches abroad, as well as the companies associated with the Party. The financial statements are published and posted on the Party website.
In addition, AKEL decided the voluntary publication of the asset and funds-source declaration of the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL, the Members of our Parliamentary Group and MEP’s, as well as former government officials who were Party militants and granting access to their bank accounts to the state control mechanisms.
At the same time, AKEL leads the way in Parliament in combating corruption. It elaborates and proposes legislative far-reaching changes in the operation of the state and institutions. It exercises strict parliamentary and political scrutiny over the government in relation to interwoven interests phenomena and non-transparency.
- Modernization of the Public Service with the aim of enhancing transparency in decision-making and people’s relations with public administration, promoting e-government and introducing objective, measurable criteria in the recruitment/hiring and assessment process of public servants.
- Institutional regulation for restricting terms in office in various state positions and interchangeability in key positions of the Public Service.
- Ability to exercise public control over all the tenders that are awarded by the public and semi-public sector.
- Expanding the list of audited persons for the purpose of submitting a “asset and funds-source declaration”, which should include, among others, the three powers (executive, legislative and judicial) and generally all those who manage public money by exercising public authority or who by their position take important decisions affecting public finances or public administration.
- Legislation regulating the financial activities of non-governmental organizations with the aim of transparency and scrutiny over their funding.
- Disclosure of audited accounts of the mass media, with the simultaneous briefing of the public about the real beneficial owners, including subsidiaries and affiliates.
- Full regulation of the financial obligations of the Church of Cyprus and transparency in its business relationship with the state,
- Complete separation of the state from the Church.
- Modernization of the institutional and legislative framework governing the supply and purchase of armaments programs, always keeping in mind the aspect of national security, as well as the secrecy that governs the field of Defense.
- Compulsory confiscation of the property of former and current state officials and public officials, who are convicted of tax evasion, bribery and the embezzlement of public money.
- Legislative regulation of stricter penalties, so that the consequences of any crime against the State will act as a deterrent to crimes being committed.
- Utilization of international experience in control policies and systems.
- Improving the accessibility of people to Authorities, especially in matters regarding securing public documents, service and transparency in relation to decisions that affect them, through public hearings and accountability.
- Implementation of effective internal control mechanisms in each Ministry, Semi-Governmental Organization or public authorities. Establishment of corresponding complaints services for citizens.
- Modernization, but also substantive implementation of the legislation concerning the incompatibility and conflict of interests of state and state officials.