Tales from the Coffeeshop: The teeth of wrath

WE ALMOST felt sorry for deputy Attorney General Akis Papasavvas on Thursday night when he appeared on RIK’s main news show to announce that he would be returning the 17 grand that we paid for his tooth implants.

The poor guy was visibly upset – his voice was quivering, he was stuttering, words were not coming to him, he had the faraway look, he grit his tooth implants, he was playing with his pen and he kept moving about in his chair like a hyper-active kid.

He was so shaken he could not even do basic arithmetic. He said he had been at the legal state services since 1977, which meant he had been working there for 43 years. Worst of all – he did not smile once to give us a glimpse of the teeth of wrath.

His condition improved a bit on RIK’s Friday lunch-time show on which he was a guest again and engaged in a five-minute monologue before allowing the presenter to ask him a question. During the tooth monologue he gave a list of all the state officials entitled to have medical treatment privately at the taxpayer’s expense, and also threw in a reference to the 18th century political thinker Montesquieu.

He had also mentioned Montesquieu a few hours earlier, on Friday morning’s RIK radio show, on which he was a guest. Montesquieu had written extensively about the tooth implants of the French aristocracy in his celebrated book De l’Esprit des Lois.


WHY WAS the Montesquieu scholar so upset and shaken? He was at the centre of public attention for a week, which is the place he always wanted to be; he was getting invitations to appear on all the TV and radio shows and at long last he had become a household name, with all Kyproulla talking about him.

The obvious reason for the emotional strain was that he had been subjected to a mega-bollocking by the comrade president, who ordered him to return the money. Akis said as much on TV – he had done everything legally, he insisted, but returned the moolah because the issue was being used as an excuse for vicious attacks on the president and the honourable civil servant who had approved the expenditure.

He gave up 17 grand to protect the president, which was a very noble sacrifice to make, especially as comrade Tof is known never to forgive or forget those who disobey him. The question everyone is asking, but no RIK presenter had the brains to put to Papasavvas, is what would happen to the teeth of wrath now that he has had to pay for them out of his own pocket. Would he go back to the private clinic, demand the implants were extracted and be given back his 17 grand?


THE MOOLAH is the less obvious, but equally important cause for Akis being so emotionally upset in front of TV audiences. The guy has been collecting big fat pay-cheques, plus benefits, from the state for 33 years and was bound to feel cheated about giving money back.

The last time he was asked to pay money he owed to the state, he refused to do so and the Attorney-general took him to court in order to get it back. But he fought the AG tooth and nail, which may be the reason he needed implants.

When Papasavvas was forced to quit from the State Legal Service he was taking unemployment benefit and had received his retirement pay-off, but this money had to be returned when he won the appeal against his dismissal and was re-instated.

Once he was reinstated he was paid all the salaries for the time he was not at work and therefore had to return the unemployment pay and retirement bonus. He refused to do so holding on to the money unlawfully on the grounds that he had a compensation claim against the state for being unfairly dismissed. Last May a settlement was reached in both cases, with Papasavvas not having to return a cent. In fact the AG agreed that his greedy deputy be paid an additional €28,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal.

Moolah is a principle that the highly principled Akis is prepared to fight for with all his might, which would explain why he looked so miserable and shaken when announcing that he would return the 17 grand. And there is no way the comrade would allow him to sue the state over the matter.

For once the taxpayer had won, as Akis had bitten off more than he could chew, even with brand new tooth implants.


A MAJOR economic point was raised by the teeth saga. Considering the taxpayer had paid for the tooth implants, were they not a public asset, part of the national wealth like CYTA that would be returned to the state when the deputy AG had no use for them? When he pays for them tomorrow, would this not be tantamount to privatisation of public assets, which our commie rulers are dogmatically opposed to?


HEALTH Minister, Christos Patsalides, who has the absolute authority to approve treatment in the private sector, without referring to any objective criteria, said the investigation into the matter would continue despite the return of the money.

He still wanted to establish how the documents from Akis’ case file had gone missing and whether the correct procedures had been followed in the ministry reimbursing the cost of the implants. Pats’ resolve to get to the bottom of the case may have something to do with the fact that he has covered his big ass. A fall guy (gal to be precise) has already been found – the acting perm sec of the ministry who retired in the summer and has nothing to lose, said she had approved the treatment.

Is there any way she would have given the go-ahead to cosmetic treatment worth 17 grand without first securing the approval of the cunning Paphite? The answer could be in the missing documents that the cops will never find.


ON MONDAY Pats showed what a low regard he has for our intelligence when he announced that the government plans to turn Cyprus into a centre for medical tourism. This is the guy who encourages patients who can be treated here to go abroad because he has a vendetta against the American Heart Institute.

It gets worse. He made this statement after meeting the directors of Israel’s Hadassah University Hospital and Medical Centre, which have been taking millions of euro from the Cypriot patients Pats has been sending them for treatment.

The smart Paphite informed us that Israel’s hospitals would pass us their “knowledge and experience so that Cyprus can upgrade its medical services and therefore reduce the number of patients that need to be transported abroad for treatment.”

Is this guy for real? The Israelis would help us upgrade our medical services so we can stop sending patients to Israel’s hospitals, an arrangement that is worth tens of millions of euro every year? They Israelis might not be as smart as Paphites, but they are smart enough to know what their interests are.

Unless this alleged assistance is a smokescreen allowing Pats to carry on sending patients who can be treated here to Israel’s hospitals, even after the ultra-smart Paphite turns Kyproulla into a centre for medical tourism, which will carry out liver transplants. For brain transplants the donors will be Paphites.


BIG BAD AL’s secretary Sonia Bachman was at the centre of the latest revelations surrounding last year’s theft of all the documents of the Downer team.

According to last Monday’s Turkish paper Hurriyet, Ms Bachman was befriended by a “handsome Greek Cypriot agent”, who frequented the Holiday Inn Hotel at which she was staying. The handsome agent knew all her comings and goings and when she was out, other agents hacked into her computer and stole all the documents, claimed the Turkish paper. After the theft of the documents, the KYP agent disappeared.

The UN spokesman Rolando Gomez dismissed the Hurriyet story as “absolutely ridiculous… unsourced, unsubstantiated and undignified.” He also declined to comment on whether the UN had carried an investigation into the theft of the documents.

I love the idea of the “handsome KYP agent” who could charm an intelligent woman. KYP must have radically changed its recruitment policy because in the past it had the hairy villagers, who were too short and uncouth to become cops, working for it.


A MAIL reporter asked the new Commissioner for the Protection of Personal Data, Toulla Polychronidou whether she had looked into the theft of the UN documents and she said that no complaint had been lodged. Why had she not investigated on her own initiative she was asked. She replied: “Ex officio probes are rare and take place only in exceptional circumstances.” A UN team having all its personal communications stolen is a common occurrence not meriting an investigation.


IN BRUSSELS our brave Euro-warriors, Eleni, Antigoni and Koullis are scoring one victory after the other. The previous week they were all basking in the glory of having thwarted the implementation of the direct trade regulation. They were all on the radio and TV shows advertising the role they had played in saving the Republic.

This week Diko’s Euro-warrior, affectionately known as ‘Antigoni the kanoni’ (cannon), wound up the usually smooth-talking and urbane Engemen Bagis so much that he completely lost it during a meeting of the Joint Turkey-EU parliamentary committee. A fuming Bagis, Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, referred to Cyprus as a “country in the south (of the island) that we do not recognise and do not know if it is a state.”

Antigoni’s wind-up was true quality. She told Bagis that the claims of Turkey’s normalisation of relations with her neighbours brought to mind the phrase, “the shrew which became a lamb.” She then told him that the occupied north had become a “haven for fugitives, prostitution, money laundering and drug trafficking.”

Long live the shrew that will never become a lamb.


COMRADE Tof did not even exchange pleasantries with Greece’s Prime Minister during the EU gathering in Brussels, adding substance to rumours that he has fallen out with George Papandreou. Papandreou’s sin was that he responded to the Tof’s claim that Greece had invaded Cyprus in 1974, by saying that this had always been AKEL’S position.

The comrade was so incensed by this remark (do not ask why) he reportedly called Papandreou and had a go at him. This was just before the October 1, independence celebrations for which Papandreou sent no congratulatory message. (His foreign minister sent the message). The comrade, who is renowned for his ability to hold a grudge indefinitely, turned down the PM’s invitation to attend the Athens conference on climate change.

Did he think he could talk to the Greek PM the way he would speak to his AKEL flunkeys or to Papasavvas about his tooth implants, and be thanked for it? I do not want to close on a negative note, but you have to start worrying if relations with Greece have been put in the deep-freeze because Papandreou could not tolerate being told off by our jumped-up, omniscient leader.