South’s State telecoms boss cited in TC land deal scam

South Cyprus state telecoms company (CyTA) chairman, Stathis Kittis faces dismissal because of his alleged involvement with a land deal scam that had undervalued Turkish Cypriot owned land.

The land in Dromolaxia, Larnaca, was sold to a Greek Cypriot businessman who changed its terms of use, upgraded the coefficients, built on it and sold it on to the CyTA pension fund, at several times the price he bought it from the original Turkish Cypriot owner.

Allegations have surfaced that millions of euros were given to enable the deal to go though, with backhand payments going to CyTA officers, an MP, a political party and trade unionists.

Two police officers and a businessman were arrested this week in connection with the case.

The businessman Nicos Lillis, who is also the chairman of Alki football club, is a shareholder in Wadnic Trading Ltd, the company which purchased the land in 2007.

The officers, members of the secret service KYP, are suspected of drafting a false report that enabled the sale of the land, which belonged to a Turkish Cypriot.

The two officers allegedly produced a report saying the Turkish Cypriot seller had resided in the government-controlled areas for six months – a necessary condition — for selling the land.

Detectives have traced two cheques – one for €10,000, the other €40,000 – allegedly made out to the two officers by Lillis.

Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said the government had asked for the opinion of the attorney-general who defined a procedure of informing Kittis of the cabinet’s intention and asking for his response.

After the reply “we receive from Mr. Kittis, the cabinet will examine its intention to dismiss him,” Nicolaou said.

A number of CyTA unions have already called for the removal of the board on ethical grounds.

The land deal is the subject of an ongoing probe.

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