Tepak defendants cleared by criminal court

The prosecution in the trial of alleged forged letters of bank guarantees for two buildings leased by the Limassol technical university (Tepak) failed to establish a case, the criminal court said in a majority ruling on Tuesday, exonerating the two defendants.

Former head of Tepak’s property management service Zinonas Achillides, 44, and contractor Yiorgos Hadjigeorgiou, 51, accused of circulating the forged documents, had already been cleared of 14 and 13 charges respectively in an interim court ruling.

On Tuesday they were cleared of the remaining six charges, which revolved around conspiracy and circulating a forged document.

But the prosecution failed to back the charges, two of the three judges said, finding three particular witness testimonies “unreliable”.

Additionally, they said, the charges were based on allegations of forged letters of bank guarantees but the actual documents were never found and presented in court.

In fact, not even copies of the forged documents were presented, with a Tepak secretary claiming in court that the file containing them was handed to an investigator, who said he knew nothing about it.

The court challenged the very existence of such a file and pointed out that the evidence found in various other files, which may have pointed to its existence, did not fill the gap.

In addition to the dubious testimony of the secretary and the investigator, the two judges also found that an official of the Audit Service, tasked with investigating the case, could not be deemed independent and impartial due to her relationship with individuals involved in the case.

The court’s decision to exonerate the two defendants was opposed by the third judge on the panel.