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18 July, 2024
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Cyprus' certifiers clash over their official stamp

Unmasking the battle over Cyprus' official stamps


Tensions are escalating between the Ministry of Interior and certifying officials in the Republic of Cyprus, as a dispute erupts over uncontrolled certifications, misuse of the nation's coat of arms seal, alleged forgeries, undeclared income, and certifying officials who stand accused of rejecting complaints lodged against them.

Seeking resolution, both parties have turned to the Parliamentary Committee on the Interior, with a specific request from certifying officials – the reinstatement of the original seal that the Ministry of Interior recently replaced.

The Ministry, however, contends that the Republic of Cyprus' official stamps have been blatantly misused. This misuse reportedly includes involvement in property transfers within occupied territories, shares of companies, and even suspected cases of forgery.

Troublingly, it has come to light that roughly 25% of the approximately 250 certifying officials in the Republic are currently facing complaints pertaining to alleged illegitimate practices. To combat this issue, the Ministry has taken the drastic step of abolishing the old seals, further seeking to amend legislation. This amendment would involve the participation of the Judicial Officers in Estate Practice (JEP) and the Judicial Estate Practitioners in Office (JEPOS) in the process of document certification. This proposed change has understandably caused a great deal of concern among certifying officials, who fear potential disruptions to their well-established practices.

The bill associated with these pivotal changes has been pending for nearly a year, prompting uncertainty and unease among those affected. It is important to note that existing certifying employees will not lose their jobs, but the inclusion of JEPs and JEPOS individuals in the certification process represents a significant shift in the status quo. Private certifying employees, on the other hand, will continue to carry out their duties until retirement, but their certifications will be meticulously registered. This registration will serve dual purposes, facilitating both audit and tax-related inquiries.

Complaints lodged against certified employees run the gamut, including allegations of forgeries, overcharges, and even certification of their own signatures. Such issues are most notably observed in the realms of real estate transfers and vehicle transactions.

In response to the ongoing conflict, the Association of certifying officials has presented a series of requests. These include advocating for the issuance of a secondary stamp, establishing a uniform certification fee structure, and creating an official registry of certifying officials, among other proposals.

The overarching goal of the Ministry of Interior is to modernize existing legislation without displacing experienced professionals from the field. Additionally, concerns have arisen regarding the potential abuse of the Republic of Cyprus' cherished coat of arms seal, adding another layer of complexity to an already intricate dispute. The future of certification practices in Cyprus remains uncertain as both sides strive to find common ground in the interest of public trust and transparency.

[With information sourced from Philenews]

Cyprus  |  law  |  government  |  stamp

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