Ayia Napa Marina: Relentless war by the Auditor General
"None of the five related to Ayia Napa Marina met the criteria for naturalization"
None of the five related to Ayia Napa Marina met the criteria for naturalization, according to the Audit Office, which responds to current reports on naturalization, made after August 18, 2020, the date on which the new Regulations enter into force.
In an announcement, the Audit Office states that the five persons associated with the Ayia Napa Marina applied for naturalization in April and May 2019 and it was approved by the Council of Ministers on 21.8.2020.
As he notes, "both on the date of submission and on the date of approval of the applications, the applicable criteria required that the applicant be a senior executive and have such a remuneration as to generate tax revenue for the Republic of € 100.000 in three years."
"None of the five met this criterion, since they had no income in the Republic and therefore, since this criterion was always the same and the applicants never met it, naturalization was illegal," he notes.
She notes that this finding is already recorded in her Report for the Ministry of Tourism.
He also states that "the additional issue that arose for these persons in the context of the new audit that we are conducting, concerns the fact that, while at the date they submitted their application they were not obliged to pay any amount (except the small naturalization fee) , based on the new Regulations, they had to pay the amount of € 200.000 to various state coffers ".
The Audit Office refers to yesterday's announcement, in which using this case as an example to clarify the issue, stated that "although these persons submitted their application in April and May 2019, but at their own risk, they filled in the data of their application in June 2020 ".
He adds that "their naturalization took place without any delay, but rather with excessive speed, 2,5 months later, but ignoring the current legal framework resulting in the loss of a total amount of € 1 million from public funds."
In addition, he adds that in the context of the new audit, the issue of due diligence study will also be examined, ie whether the person is a PEP or is related to a PEP or is a person at high risk, etc.
"For some of these people, there were important findings. "Without concluding at this time that this should be an additional reason for them not to be naturalized, we mention it because a problematic application justifies a longer examination time," the Audit Office said. "Therefore, this aspect, as well as all the data of each case, should be examined to determine whether there was an omission by the administration in examining the application in a reasonable time," he added.
In the meantime, he states that he will extend the control to the other cases of naturalizations, to add that in each case it should be examined whether the relevant Decision of the Council of Ministers was justified and, if there are cases in which there was a long delay that can reasonably attributed to some form of fault or negligence on the part of the administration, it should be considered whether this may justify the disregard of the new Regulations and the application of the legal regime in force before 18.8.2020.
He also notes that he "never gives opinions or legal advice to audited bodies", noting that "all the Audit Office does is to properly interpret the legal framework which it uses as an audit criterion in cases of compliance audits, in order to reach safe conclusions ".
"The relevant international standards allow an Audit Office to be consulted by experts (such as a legal advisor), but it is clear that the sole responsibility for the accuracy of the report rests with the Audit Office," he added.
In this context, if during the examination of the 221 cases, the Audit Office deems that in any case there are issues for which it would be necessary or useful to seek legal or other advice, it will do so, always applying the relevant auditing standards, the its announcement.