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13 June, 2024
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AKEL MP calls for probe into First Lady's social support fund

Christofides raises concerns over potential legislative violations and lack of transparency


AKEL MP Christos Christofides has called upon the Auditor General to investigate the management of the Independent Social Support Body overseen by Philippa Karseras, the First Lady. In his letter, Christofides highlights concerns regarding potential legislative violations, particularly regarding changes in the fund's purpose without corresponding legal amendments. He also questions the fairness of application approvals and rejections, emphasizing the importance of adhering to established legislation.

Christofides references an interview with Mrs. Karseras Christodoulides, where she discussed expanding the institution's scope beyond its original purpose of assisting socioeconomically disadvantaged students. He notes proposals for legislative transparency enhancements due to the institution's reliance on private contributions, raising concerns about potential influence from significant financial interests.

The legislation governing the Independent Social Support Agency outlines specific criteria for eligibility, including financial hardship or extraordinary social circumstances affecting a student's ability to continue their education. Christofides asserts that the fund, initially established to aid students facing financial crisis, has evolved into a broader support system, potentially usurping the state's statutory responsibilities and university student welfare services.

Concerns are also raised about the lack of transparency regarding approved grants, with Christofides noting a lapse in the submission of beneficiary lists to the House of Representatives since 2017. He emphasizes the need for state-led financial support for students facing economic challenges, rather than reliance on private initiatives, to avoid potential favoritism or manipulation in the allocation of funds.

In conclusion, Christofides urges the Auditor General to investigate specific cases, the deviation from the fund's original purpose without legal amendments, and the fairness of application processing. He advocates for state-led student support services to ensure equitable access to education without dependency on external funding sources.

Cyprus  |  politics  |  charity

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