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12° Nicosia,
29 September, 2020
 
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Attorney general uneasy over nepotism jibes

Costas Clerides responds to allegations of unequal treatment over traffic fines

Newsroom

The credibility of Attorney General Costas Clerides has come under scrutiny with the man himself joining the public discussion following complaints launched against him for unequal treatment of motorists. 

Clerides went on the defence to address complaints that he exhibited favourtism towards a number of motorists, who had been caught speeding by traffic cameras. Former Disy MP Andreas Themistocleous had launched a public complaint against the attorney general, accusing him of cancelling speeding fines issued to acquaintances while the average citizen had to pay up.

Themistocleous previously published on his personal Facebook account an internal document which appeared to be an authentic letter signed by Clerides, in which the wife of a well-known Nicosia power attorney was being forgiven for speeding and would not have to pay fines.

Speed camera mess

The tickets were related to the only two speeding cameras in operation, on Grivas Digeni Avenue in Nicosia, which are being operated in order to catch racers who speed up and down the road especially late at night and early morning hours, according to officials.

But a lot more drivers going about their daily business also speed past the camera spot. In fact, during the pilot programme in summer 2014, thousands of unsuspecting drivers were caught several times unbeknownst to them, with the police failing to notify them on time until it was too late and drivers had accrued fines that could cost them their license.

Clerides issued a statement saying the Facebook post was “malicious and misleading”

As a result, many citizens complained to the attorney general’s office, while others paid fines or went to court.

Clerides issued a statement saying the Facebook post was “malicious and misleading,” adding that there had been thousands of other citizens who were caught by cameras in summer 2014 did not have to pay fines based on his discretion.

The attorney general also called on citizens not to feel they are victims of unequal treatment by the Legal Services Department.

But one Kathimerini reporter questioned the number of cases that were treated favourably, from those offences in summer 2014 during the pilot programme, wondering what were the criteria for 3,082 offences to be cancelled of a total of 14,376 during the same period.

A statement from the attorney general suggested that some journalists were targeting him and trying to say defamatory things about his reputation.

Clerides was recently criticised for his role in ordering journalists to be questioned by police over hacked Russian emails between his deputy, senior state attorney Eleni Loizidou, and Russian officials, which were published earlier this year, revealing inappropriate contact and damaging the reputation of his office.

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