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Auditor general probing president’s use of private jets

Auditor general Odysseas Michaelides is looking into the use of private jets by President Nicos Anastasiades, Phileleftheros reported on Thursday.

The office does not dispute the president’s right to use private jets to facilitate travel but is looking at whether the appropriate procedures are followed.

Last week, a private jet bringing the president and the rest of the Cyprus delegation home was forced to return to New York three hours into the flight after the pilot noticed cracks on the windscreen.

In the ensuing debate as to the procedures followed, the government said that the specific contract had been awarded after tenders.

Phileleftheros said that an official from the auditor general’s office had gone to the Presidential Palace to collect all the documentation.

It said that the inquiry would look at the trips the president took in 2018 and 2019, which involved a private jet, what the destinations were and how much the private aircraft have cost tax payers.

Officials will also look at what procedures were followed in selecting the company awarded the contract to lease the private airplane, what kind of airplane had been requested and who else had travelled with the president.

Officials will also look at which budget provision covers the cost of these contracts.

Phileleftheros noted that the inquiry will clarify whether criticism that members of the president’s family had joined him on the flights on private jets was founded.

MPs are understood to be considering taking the issue for examination by the House Watchdog Committee once the auditor general completes his review.

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