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Cabinet approves corruption watchdog.

The cabinet on Thursday approved the formation of a corruption watchdog that will be tasked with investigating cases and advise public departments.

"It is an important bill that grants many powers not afforded to other state authorities, especially independent ones," Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said afterwards.

Cyprus ranks 38th out of 180 countries in Transparency International's corruption perception index and surveys have shown the public has lost confidence in all institutions, especially political parties.

Cyprus has also failed to apply 14 out of 16 recommendations made by the Council of Europe's Group of States against Corruption (Greco).

The authority will be similar to those in other modern countries and whose role extends across all sectors, not just governments.

The authority will be staffed by a commissioner and two assistants whose qualifications will be similar to those needed for a supreme court appointment.

They will enjoy the protection judges have, and their independence, and will be appointed by the president for five years with the possibility of one renewal.

The watchdog will be tasked with coordinating efforts in the public and private sectors as regards tackling corruption.

Nicolaou said they will be given important powers relating to the collection, assessment and investigation of information, and investigating complaints. In the event of potential criminal offences, they will prepare a report and inform the attorney-general who will decide how to proceed.

The watchdog will also appoint investigators and issue circulars instructing public services to put in place specific measures to prevent corruption.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Feb 28, 2019
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