News Local Update: More VIP prisoners released; AG calls for corrective measures

Update: More VIP prisoners released; AG calls for corrective measures

Two former Paphos mayors — Savvas Vergas and Phidias Sarikas — were released from Nicosia Central Prison on Friday, as were another two ‘VIPs’ jailed in connection with the Paphos Sewerage Board scandal.

The two former mayors, former Paphos Sewerage Board  general manager Eftychios Malikkides and former AKEL municipal councillor Vasos Vassiliou were released under a new law allowing for the early release on parole of convicts who have shown good behaviour.

The first convict to benefit from the law was former deputy attorney general Rikkos Erotokritou, raising a storm of protests and prompting some MPs to say that they planned to revisit it.

Three former Paphos municipal councillors — George Michaelides of DISY, Efstathios Efstathiou of DIKO and Yiorgos Sialis of AKEL  who were convicted in the same Paphos Sewerage Board kickback case remain in jail.

Vergas had been jailed in 2015  for a total of six years for the sewerage scandal and another two for the Paphos waste site.   Malikkides was jailed in 2015 for six years and another 15 months in August 2017 for corruption.

The Supreme Court in April reduced the prison terms of the former municipal councillors.

In a written statement following the latest releases, attorney general Costas Clerides called for corrective measures.

He said the Parole Board had been set up to offer convicts the prospect of parole under conditions, after a certain period.

Instead, as a result of the amended legislation, convicts that have been convicted for serious criminal offences including corruption, are being released before they have served half their sentence.

As it is currently being exercised, this authority appears to be intervening in the responsibilities of the independent judiciary which imposes sentences taking all factors into consideration. It also removes the element of deterrence from the imposed sentence, thereby sending the wrong message to society, he said.

He said that the executive and legislature must take corrective measures, noting that the law office of the republic will actively contribute in his direction.


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