Dig deeper for the real tooth scandal


IT IS WRONG to blame deputy Attorney-general Akis Papasavvas for the scandalous decision to waste the taxpayer’s money on his 10 tooth implants.

Papasavvas should not take a big share of the responsibility for this sordid affair which reminds us of the decay and filth suffocating this country. Papasavvas is a fellow citizen who is facing a problem. This is blatantly obvious to anyone who has been aware of his behaviour in the last few years. But any of us could have a similar problem.

It is therefore not right to put up against the wall a man who does not have a proper awareness of his actions. Is it possible to believe that a man with earnings from the state in the region of €200,000 would sink so low as to demand €17,000 for the state for tooth implants has behaved like a rational human being, fully aware of what he is doing?

Someone could well ask, just because he is not fully aware of his actions, should we stay silent? Certainly not, but my suggestions is that we should look for the real culprits for this scandal, the moral instigators. This is not a very difficult task.

Papasavvas is in the position he is and behaves in the way he does, for one very simple reason – he is the friend of President Christofias, who brought him out of retirement and appointed him to the post, after he was elected. Is there a single rational person who thinks that Papasavvas – with his questionable abilities and bizarre behaviour that all Cyprus knows about – should have been appointed deputy Attorney-general?

Everyone knows that Christofias appointed him in spite of the strong objections – including those of the Attorney-general – for reasons unrelated to his suitability for the job. Is it perhaps a coincidence that Christofias has said nothing about this sordid affair?

He knows that he is morally responsible for what has happened and has kept quiet, deluding himself that by saying nothing he is covering up his guilt. If anything, this story exposes the much-touted myth about Christofias’ and AKEL’s commitment to principles of sound administration and high regard for our institutions.

Papasavvas retired in 2006. During the Papadopoulos presidency, Christofias arranged for him to work for another year, after his retirement, at the Attorney-general’s office and when he became president in 2008 he appointed Papasavvas deputy Attorney General. He appointed a retiree who was collecting some €50,000 a year in state pensions.

This is the same president who, together with AKEL, encourages university students to stage demonstrations outside the House of Representatives, against the extension of the retirement age so there could be public sector jobs for young graduates.

On the day of Papasavvas’ appointment – May 3, 2008 – AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou sang his praises. “He is a man deeply dedicated to principles and we believe he will produce important work in performing his new responsibilities.”

Of course, the dedication of Papasavvas (with annual state incomes in the region of €200,000) to institutions and principles was emphatically proved with the 10 tooth implants paid for by the taxpayer – the same taxpayer, who is not entitled to a free €30 x-ray at a state hospital if the total income of his family is just a euro above €22,000 a year.

Kyprianou, who has also avoided saying anything about Papasavvas’ tooth implants, is the president’s accomplice in this affair and should have the guts to accept a share of the responsibility for the scandal.