News Local EC: Cyprus recorded 120 corruption probes in 5 years

EC: Cyprus recorded 120 corruption probes in 5 years

Cypriot authorities investigated a total of 120 corruption cases between 2013 and 2018, of which 98 have been completed and 22 are ongoing, the European Commission reported in its 2020 Rule of Law Report published on Wednesday.

The report presents the rule of law situation in the EU and also evaluates the situation in each Member State.

The chapter on Cyprus mentions that 47 cases are either pending trial or are under trial, 37 people were convicted for corruption in 26 cases of which 12 were “high-level corruption convictions, including the deputy Attorney General, members of the House of Representatives and ex-ministers.”

Cyprus scores 58/100 in the 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index and was ranked 12th in the EU and 41st globally. 95% of respondents to a 2020 Eurobarometer survey consider corruption to be a widespread problem (EU average: 71%) and 60% of people feel personally affected by corruption in their daily lives (EU average: 26%).

As regards business, 88% of companies consider that corruption in Cyprus is widespread (EU average: 63%), 48% consider that corruption is a problem when doing business (EU average: 37%) while only 11% of companies consider that people and businesses caught for bribing a senior official are appropriately punished (EU average: 31%).

The Commission’s report notes that, overall, Cyprus has made some progress in tackling and investigating corruption. However, key legislation for the prevention of corruption is still pending, lobbying and whistle-blower protection remain unregulated by law and an independent anti-corruption authority has yet to be established.

It was further noted that Cyprus’ justice system suffers from a nearly complete lack of digitalisation as very little information is publicly available about the judicial system and there is also no electronic information on case progress and no electronic case management system.

In addition, the justice system in Cyprus is still facing serious efficiency challenges as the time needed to resolve civil, commercial and administrative cases in first instance courts remains among the highest in the EU (737 days in 2018, compared to 1118 in 2017). It was, however, mentioned that an action plan to address these efficiency challenges has been adopted and its implementation is ongoing, albeit with some delay.

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