Vergas pleads guilty to corruption charges again

first_imgJailed former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas on Wednesday pleaded guilty to corruption charges relating to overcharging at waste-management plants in Paphos and Koshi, Larnaca.Vergas, currently doing a six-year stint on similar charges, will be sentenced on April 5.On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to four charges including bribery and abuse of authority.He also said he would give real estate to the state, belonging to companies he owned. Their value will be assessed with the assistance of the anti-money laundering unit.The disgraced former mayor was among a group of high-profile arrests last year including the then mayor of Larnaca Andreas Louroudjiatis.Apart from Louroudjiatis and Vergas, the authorities charged Larnaca municipal employees Demetris Patsalides, Stelios Papadopoulos, and Christos Petrou, civil servant Michalis Pantis, pensioners Antonis Kourouzides, Georgios Koullapis, and Demetris Giannakopoulos, doctor Nicolas Koullapis, former Paphos Sewerage Board director Eftichios Malekkides, civil engineer Imad Bagle, chemical engineer Theofanis Lolos, and companies Enviroplan Consultants & Engineers, Helector Cyprus Ltd, and N.E. Midoriaco Ltd.Malekkides is also serving a six-year prison sentence with Vergas.The defendants face charges of bribery, conspiracy, fraud, money-laundering, abuse of power and forgery.Helector is the company at the centre of the waste management scandal.As operator of the two landfills – one at Marathounda, Paphos, the other at Koshi, Larnaca – the company is alleged to have overcharged municipalities – and ultimately the taxpayer – by reporting higher waste volumes while public officials looked the other way in return for skimming off the top.The trial continues on May 9.Vergas and Malekkides were jailed in 2015 after they pleaded guilty on charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, corruption and bribery, in connection to the Paphos Sewerage Board (SAPA) scandal.The offences took place between 1999 and 2014.Vergas admitted to receiving €520,000 in bribes and Malekides pleaded guilty to receiving €498,000. Both have returned immovable property and cash in a bid for leniency.The pair had been receiving kickbacks from construction companies in return for contracts.The scam saddled the municipality, and subsequently the taxpayer, with extra costs due to often-unnecessary additional work on the project. The project came in some €40m over budget.A separate trial is underway in Paphos, of five people also implicated in the affair.The defendants in the trial are former mayor – and former MP with socialists EDEK – Fidias Sarikas, former Paphos municipal councillors Giorgos Michaelides, Efstathios Efstathiou, and Vasos Vasiliou, and sitting councillor Giorgos Shailis. They face charges of receiving bribes from private contractors who won SAPA contracts.Vergas was used in the trial as a prosecution witness.You May LikeLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsThese SUVs Are The Cream Of The Crop. Search For 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsLuxury Crossover SUV I Search AdsUndoHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoFigLeaf Beta AppFigLeaf brings You 3 Easy Steps to Privacy on Your Terms…FigLeaf Beta AppUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img

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