News Local GRECO stresses need for code of conduct for MPs in Cyprus

GRECO stresses need for code of conduct for MPs in Cyprus

The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption has stressed the need for a Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament in Cyprus to be adopted to prevent various forms of corruption.

In a second compliance report released on Monday, GRECO also addressed issues such as conflicts of interest and lobbying.

And they pointed out that asset declaration of MPs should be more comprehensive, while control over such declarations needs strengthening.

“Fully implementing all these recommendations has become all the more pressing given recent serious allegations of undue influence of third parties over some MPs,” the report said in a reference to a recent scandal involving members  of parliament concerning the scheme of selling passports through the country’s Citizenship through Investment programme.

The report also said that out of 16 recommendations from 2016, seven have been fully implemented, six remain partly implemented and three have not been implemented.

The report, which follows an initial compliance report published in 2018, also noted that although a movement towards simplifying and clarifying revenues and allowances received by MPs for discharging their office has been engaged, it has not been completed.

GRECO acknowledged the preparation of a draft Code of Conduct for MPs since its initial compliance report, but Parliament is still examining the draft.

In the meantime, several GRECO recommendations for MPs concerning conflicts of interest, contacts with lobbyists, declaration of gifts, and dedicated training against corruption have yet to be implemented or remain partly implemented, it said.

With regard to judges, GRECO welcomes since its previous compliance report the Judicial Code of Ethics as binding and enforceable on all judges, with the possibility of disciplinary proceedings in case of breach.

“This is a very positive development, which follows the visit of the GRECO President to Cyprus in February 2019 and constructive dialogue with the Cyprus authorities, it said.
“Moreover, a recent amendment to the revised Judicial Practice Direction of 2019 has been introduced requiring judges to recuse themselves if a family member or a colleague or the employer or an employee or a partner of the family member appears before them,” it added.

This will contribute to greater emphasis in the Judicial Code of Ethics on the prevention of conflicts of interest, in particular considering recent conflict of interest cases that have been brought to light, it also said.

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