Horizontal "institutional corruption" MPs complain about "Ammos tou Kabouri"

The result of "horizontal institutional entanglement and corruption" are the interventions made in the "Ammos tou Kambouris" area in Ayia Napa

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The result of "horizontal institutional entanglement and corruption" are the interventions made in the "Ammos tou Kabouri" area in Ayia Napa, said MPs of the Interior Committee, which concluded on Thursday the examination of the matter, focusing on the Auditor General's report that lays blame on the Environment Department.

In the supplementary report of cumulative impacts from existing, planned and potential developments in the "Ammos tou Kambouri" area in the "Cabo Greco" Special Protection Zone issued last week by the Auditor Service, it is stated that the amendment of the conclusions and environmental conditions, by the Department of Environment , in the absence of new environmental data, constitutes a violation of the provisions of article 6.3 of the Habitats Directive and this violation involves the possibility of bringing the Republic of Cyprus to the European Court of Justice.

A spokesman for the Audit Service said that the new element that emerged between the initial and supplementary report of the Department of Environment was the official proposal of the Department of Fisheries to extend the conservation zone for the Mediterranean seal in the area, which was not taken into account.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Environment stated that the Department reviewed the cumulative effects in the area following a decision by the Council of Ministers not to apply the incentives given for developments in sensitive areas. As he said, it was not scientific evidence, but important enough to allow a re-evaluation of the cumulative effects of urban planning zones in the area.

Answering whether the supplementary report followed the public consultation process provided for, he stated that it was discussed in an ad hoc committee.

The Chairman of the Committee, Member of Parliament of AKEL, Aristos Damianou, described the case as an "environmental, ecological crime". "The damage that has been done to a very large extent is irreparable, despite the efforts being made," he said.

He noted that the Interior Committee has collected a significant amount of documents and evidence, with the intention of completing the preparation of a special report, which will be sent to the Plenary Session of the Parliament.

"We have a strong opinion that there have been serious violations of national legislation, environmental acquis communautaire as a result of institutional and political entanglement of the time," he said after the end of the Commission's session.

He added that in the event that issues arise that do not concern the Parliament, but possibly the Judiciary, "the primary material will be handed over to the competent authorities, for the examination of possible criminal charges".

The Member of Parliament of the Environmental Movement, Charalambos Theopeptou, said that the case of the "Sand of Kampouri" area is one of the "most classic in terms of corruption" in Cyprus. He noted that we are avoiding implementing the Barcelona Convention on Coastal Zone Management. He said that Ayia Napa's marina was made into a protected area for birds by "transferring" the habitat. He added that when the mansions to be built there were advertised in the area and on the internet and it looked like they would be coastal encroaching on the area no one did anything. When they "began to dig the earth to bring the sea to the flats, again no one saw anything".

Mr. Theopeptou also mentioned that the Government decided to restore and "we will pay for them because we don't know who dug them". He said the Auditor General's report blamed the Environment Department for the changes made. "Anyone who has dealt with the matter from the government side has almost all committed crimes. One of the most classic cases of corruption we have seen in Cyprus and everyone has turned a blind eye and no one knows anything", he said, urging the Government to take measures to prevent the recurrence of illegalities.

Independent Member of Parliament, Alexandra Attalidou, said that the Auditor General's report on Cape Greco, documents "the enormous responsibility of the state and the Department of the Environment, which modified the legally binding terms of its original report, increasing the building factor, the number of floors and the height of the buildings, without documentation and scientific data".

"This state, by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the Anastasiades Government, not only succumbed to the huge economic interests, but violated the laws, cut and sewed what environmental protection means, changed places in the habitats, cut a piece that did not exist and gave it to the Archdiocese in exchange for an alleged plot in another province, which is illegal. In the end, it did not prevent the environmental crime of deforesting and the total environmental destruction of Ammos tou Kambouris," he said.

He added that the way the Police handled the investigation of the problem and the Court's decision, "is highly problematic for the kind and quality of the rule of law we have in this place" and stated that this is why the Anti-Corruption Authority had to has investigative powers.

Source: KYPE