Mayor’s son-in-law remanded on corruption charges

THE SON-IN-LAW of beleaguered Paralimni mayor Nicos Vlittis Andreas Kakoullis, 37, was yesterday remanded in custody for five days.

Kakoullis, a municipal engineer, appeared before a Famagusta district court yesterday morning for a remand hearing following his arrest on Thursday afternoon. He faces charges of abuse of power, bribery of a public employee and corruption in the period 2001-2003.

Police are investigating claims that Kakoullis obtained a total of £124,000 from businessman Christakis Giovanni, of which £24,000 were to issue building permits for eight flats under construction at the Kapparis area and £100,000 for the approval of a road network in Paralimni.

Chief CID investigator Andreas Pettis told the court that Giovanni allegedly submitted the preparation of plans for eight flats, and Kakoullis is said to have told him to begin construction and that he would get his building permit in two to three months.

Pettis maintained that when Giovanni began construction, the suspect told him there were “technical problems” in approving the permit for the road network, a move which allegedly caused the breakdown of a deal with Giovanni’s clients.

The suspect is then alleged to have asked Giovanni to pay him £3,000 for the approval of each apartment, which the businessman did by issuing a cheque for £24,000.
The cheques were allegedly made out to Kakoullis’ name and prosecutors claim they were then cashed by a close relative.

Kakoullis initially resigned from the municipality on October 30, after Mayor Vlittis came under fire over allegations that he and associates had favoured friends and relatives by facilitating or expediting the issue of building permits.

A criminal investigation ordered by the Cabinet is still ongoing, and although Vlittis has ignored calls by members of the municipal council for his resignation, his powers have been curtailed by the council and a three-member committee has taken over the authority of looking into construction files.