AG: Akkelidou file still incomplete

ATTORNEY-general Solon Nikitas returned the criminal file on Health Minister Dina Akkelidou for a second time yesterday, maintaining that the report was still incomplete.

Police handed over the file yesterday morning after adding further information requested by Nikitas on September 21.

“I have examined the new evidence but the file is not complete and I have sent it back for completion as soon as possible,” said Nikitas yesterday.

Chief of Police Tassos Panayiotou played down rumours of a rift between police and the Attorney-general, citing procedural reasons for the second ‘rebuff’.

“The previous request was for the collection of all public statements made by Mrs Akkelidou. Now he is asking for the evidence to be documented according to the laws of Cyprus,” said Panayiotou.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, the legal chief was acting on advice of the police to secure the testimony of all those involved with the minister’s public statements, thereby guaranteeing that they could be used as evidence.

Nikitas ordered a criminal probe into Akkelidou on September 15 after information came to light that she had sent a confidential letter to a district court judge discussing a drugs suspect in an ongoing case. Calls for her resignation were ignored while Akkelidou rejected accusations of meddling in the course of justice. The minister refused to step down, pleading ignorance and arguing that her intentions were pure.

Police completed the investigation on September 21 only for Nikitas to return it the same day with a request for the collection of all public statements made by Akkelidou regarding the case.

According to reports, Akkelidou told police her secretary was at fault for sending the letter, despite the fact the minister had already publicly apologised and owned up to her procedural blunder.

Once the investigation is complete, the final word rests with Nikitas to determine what – if any – action to take against Akkelidou.

Meanwhile, AKEL leader Demetris Christofias said on Tuesday that no AKEL minister would be leaving the government. He said some people saw Akkelidou as the weakest link in the chain and an easy target to have her head on a plate, but highlighted that none of the AKEL ministers would be leaving the cabinet.

Asked to comment on the statement, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said: “Mr Christofias as House President, acting head of state and AKEL General Secretary is in constant contact with the President of the Republic and is aware of the President’s thoughts.”

Asked if this meant Christofias was expressing the opinions of the President, Chrysostomides said he had nothing further to add.