Financial Crash Investigation Approved by Attorney-general - Govt. Spokesman
In a delicately-worded statement, government spokesman Christos Stylianides said that the three-judge investigative committee into Cyprus' financial crash was approved by Attorney-general Petros Clerides, who now has the task of deciding whether to sue former president Demetris Christofias over his refusal to testify last week.
"The Government, without any intention of confronting anyone and not desiring to engage in any discussion of legal issues, and while respecting the institutions, wishes to clarify that the recommendation for a commission of inquiry over the economy was based on the Constitution and after an opinion from the Attorney General. Therefore, any doubts over the creation and existence of the commission does not serve the institutions nor the public interest," according to the short statement.
Last week, Christofias abandoned a hearing in front of the investigative commission, and refused point blank to answer their questions. His communist party AKEL legal team told the media that the commission was illegal because it should have been appointed by the attorney general, instead of the Cabinet of Ministers. The commission referred the matter to Clerides.
The overwhelming public reaction to Christofias' latest scandalous behaviour has been contemptuous and dismissive. Nobody believes him or his party's excuses, and there have been many calls for him to be brought in front of a court and punished for his conduct. Refusing to testify is normally a crime, and can be punished by one year in jail or a five-thousand-euro fine.
All eyes are now on attorney-general Clerides, whose duty is clearly to follow the law and decide to prosecute Christofias, who is now a simple citizen, and not protected by presidential immunity.
Whether this will happen is an entirely different matter - so far, Clerides has been more than biased in favour of Christofias, according to public opinion and the opinion of many legal experts.
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