Auditor General Odysseas Michaelides has argued that the government cannot be held accountable for the land slippage in Pissouri and that the Interior Ministry should first consult the Attorney General before compensating affected homeowners.
In a letter to Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides, dated March 22, the Auditor General said that his office considers it “unacceptable” to “transfer the burden of a non-existent responsibility to the government.”
Michaelides argued that the responsibility for evaluating the structural calculations before building the houses, should have normally been in the hands of a engineer appointed by the land development company that sold the properties.
He added that the fact that authorities check the structural calculations does not exempt the engineers of their responsibility as it is they who sign them.
People’s homes, not a war zone! pic.twitter.com/wK1ofgVTfL
— Fight For Pissouri (@Fight4Pissouri) March 26, 2019
Michaelides described a possible decision to compensate affected homeowners as a “gift to land developers who sold the properties to unsuspecting buyers”.
He also claimed that a whole residential complex in Pissouri which is now suffering from serious damages was sold by “a single, well-known land development company which will now be relieved of its responsibilities”.
Moreover, the Auditor General argued that providing compensation to homeowners will create a precedent as the Republic will essentially accept the responsibility for issuing a construction permit based on inadequate structural calculations.
“According to the Road and Building Law 9A(5), land developers should conduct their own structural calculations with their own civil engineers,” Michaelides added.
“Will we now consider that civil engineers working in District Offices have the responsibility for the hundreds of structural calculations that pass through their hands each year?”, the Auditor General wrote, concluding his letter.
On February 25, an Interior Ministry representative told Parliament that the government will compensate Pissouri homeowners whose houses have been affected by by land slippage.
A proposal for a lump sum payment to families whose homes have suffered irreparable damage will be submitted to the cabinet, he said.
A slow-moving landslide which has caused damage to the soil and houses is affecting the area “Limnes” in Pissouri, as the village is located in a geologically problematic zone.
Pissouri residents have been raising the problem since 2012, when the land slippage first appeared in the village.
Since then, many houses have sustained enormous damage.
Video by the group Fight for Pissouri: