News Local Two men in custody in suspected mask theft case

Two men in custody in suspected mask theft case

Two men were remanded in custody for eight days on Saturday as Limassol investigate how a quantity of masks of the same type imported by the government for public and private sector employees ended up on the market.

The men are aged 27 and 55 and are son-in-law and father-in-law.

Police had found the masks on sale at pharmacies in Nicosia, raising suspicions they may be stolen.

Their investigations led them to the 27 year old who on May 12 had supplied a pharmaceutical company in Limassol with 16,000 masks of the same type imported by the Republic for €5920.

Limassol CID head Ioannis Soteriades told CNA that the case may be much larger.

He said police were investigating a case of conspiracy to commit and offence, theft, fraud, obtaining money under false pretenses, breaking the quarantine law and money laundering. The alleged offences were committed between April 3 and today.

He said the complaint had been filed by the director of health services of the Health Ministry who said that masks of the same type imported by the Republic to be distributed for free to public and semi public organisations turned up for sale at pharmacies in Nicosia.

He said that investigations at the Limassol pharmaceutical company which had been supplied the masks showed they had the same bar code as those imported by the Republic. During a search at the house of the 27 year old, police found the same type of masks.

“You appreciate that we are still at the very initial stages of the investigations. This case may have much larger dimensions and we are investigating how these masks which were being distributed for free ended up for sale in pharmacies,” he said.

Some people appear to be exploiting the situation created by the pandemic for their personal benefit. The specific masks should have been distributed the health workers who are on the front line and other workers to protect them against the coronavirus, he added.




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