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Our View: Deputies never tire of lining their own pockets.

DESPITE the noble words about the serving the public, the primary concern of most deputies is looking after their personal interests. And we are not just referring to the irresponsible populist utterances which are the currency of political debate and are designed to win votes. Only a couple of weeks ago we found out how deputies had arranged for the e1/46,000 annual allowance they received for secretarial services to be factored into the calculation of their state pension, thus increasing it by several hundred euro a month.

These are the same people who arranged that more than half of their monthly remuneration was given as allowances, so they did not pay any income tax or social insurance on it. It does not need to be said that the allowances were incorporated in the calculation of the monthly pension. These privileges are clearly not enough for deputies who are lawyers, who always seem to be looking for new cash-generation schemes.

On Wednesday, some deputies, by profession lawyers, embraced the objections voiced by Cyprus Bar Association to a bill aimed at reducing the number of cases submitted to the Tenders Review Authority. The bill is based on an EU directive and should have been approved by the end of last year, but an extension was secured until October 28, 2010. It was due to be approved by Thursday's plenum but the lawyers in the legislature secure a postponement, presumably, in the hope of blocking it.

If passed the law would restrict the number of appeals submitted to the Tenders Review Authority, for state contracts by setting minimum amounts. For instance, in the purchase of supplies or services by the state worth less than e1/4125,000 no appeals would be allowed. For construction projects, no appeals would be allowed if the project is valued at less than e1/44,845,000. All state bodies gave their approval to the proposed arrangement, because it would lighten the work-load of the Authority and reduce the delays caused by appeals against tenders' procedures. Sometimes, projects or state purchases are delayed by one or two years, because unsuccessful bidders file appeals against decisions.

The Bar Association, supported by deputy/lawyers, objects to this change as it would reduce the business for lawyers; there would be fewer cases for appeal to the Authority. It does not matter that the new law would speed up the execution of state projects and restrict the delays caused by appeals to the Authority, many of which are submitted simply for delaying the decision. And our deputy/lawyers are keen to maintain these inefficiencies because they gain financially from them.

If lawyer/deputies are making money from causing delays to the state's decision-making processes, then it must be good for our society.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Oct 9, 2010
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