15/32. My draconian anti-corruption measures

15/32. My draconian anti-corruption measures

My approach is radical. Many members of parliament under instructions from their political parties will initially refuse to pass most of these anti-corruption manifesto pledges. It will be like lambs voting on what should be eaten on Easter Sunday. However, I have a cunning plan.  

I will introduce draconian measures for politically exposed persons (‘PEPs’) to fully disclose their assets in private via detailed anti-money laundering (AML) audits paid for by the state. ‘Private’ means in secret and confidentially. Only a summary will be made public. I will commission an independent study to provide this PEP list. Just because someone is a diplomat, judge, or senior government employee does not mean they are a PEP. Nor would this apply to decision makers for low-value government contracts.  

  • No bank accounts may be opened anywhere in the EU without private disclosure. It will become a criminal offence to open a bank account outside of the EU (directly or indirectly) without full private disclosure and justification. There will be a limit on how much cash per week may be banked or withdrawn without full disclosure and an explanation in private. When audits are required they will be carried out abroad by respected professionals with no connections to Cyprus.

All EU and UK banks currently ask individuals a question when opening an account as part of ongoing AML best practice: ‘Are you a PEP or are you related to a PEP?’ This makes it very difficult to syphon corrupt money to relatives via EU and UK banks. 

  • I will keep current ways government contracts are awarded over certain values, with additional checks and balances by qualified persons abroad who have no Cyprus connections, including:  
  • How Turkish Cypriot properties are awarded or administered 
  • How land is rezoned
  • How long-term rental space for government offices is assessed
  • Our future sovereign wealth fund from natural gas royalties
  • Other similar areas of potential or publicly perceived areas of corruption exposure, or political corruption in return for votes.
  • New senior government appointments will be reviewed by the same external experts that will assist in the selection of my future ministers and MPs. This will put an end to ‘jobs for the boys’.
  • Political party donations will be privately monitored by external qualified persons abroad. All bank statements and sources of funding will be disclosed monthly. Donations in cash, however small, will be banned because we are in 2022, not 1962. Most political party donors have bank accounts and debit cards.
  • Political lobbying laws will be enhanced. Special interest groups that provide direct or indirect donations to political parties over a certain amount must fully disclose their name, name of party, and amount on a central government website for public scrutiny within 30 days. Political parties that propose any laws or changes to laws must transparently disclose if a special interest group lobbied or paid a donation directly or indirectly to their party within the previous 2 years.
  • The auditor general will be given additional powers to expedite investigations and a larger budget for forensic audits. 

The state will pay for all the above additional impartial checks and balances. PEPs and political parties will not. If current members of parliament refuse to pass such laws out of fear of transparency, the Cyprus electorate can replace them with our new political party’s MPs in May 2026, if they so wish. This will be the first set of laws ‘we’ will pass when elected in office. (Off topic: The second law ‘we’ will pass will be to undo MPs’ right to enjoy a full pension after only 5 years in office. This is disgraceful. We have tens of thousands of pensioners who were never employed by the public sector, that worked for 40 years, paid taxes and social insurance for 40 years but are now barely able to financially survive.)

I have absolutely no trust in the current system whatsoever. Despite my companies’ undertaking international projects including for the EU itself, we have never bothered to bid. Unless you know someone in power and can pull strings, opportunities are limited in our tiny country where everyone knows someone. Currently when buying goods, e.g. printer paper or road signs, it’s fine for government departments or municipalities to choose the cheapest. However, for services, cheapest isn’t best. A good example is how much the government pays for certain services. Unless some of these companies do so out of patriotic duty, or as a part-time additional job, the general rule in business is, if you pay peanuts, you get a monkey[1].

We Cypriots do not want foreigners abroad telling us what to do as if we are a third-world nation. However, because we are a tiny nation where everyone knows someone, I want to invite professional help from abroad to assist us to follow our own path as a nation. This will drastically reduce political and actual corruption. By having this additional layer of oversight from external independent experts abroad, corruption will be minimised, and the best supplier or advisor will get senior jobs and government contracts, not the best politically connected or the cheapest.

[1] I am not implying companies awarded government contracts or advisors are monkeys merely that the amount they are paid compared to other EU countries is low. This potentially limits the companies and advisors willing to apply.  


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