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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-11-27

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, November 27, 1999

Scandals and the lust for money

THE GREEK press yesterday hosted a variety of topics, but again focused on scandals and the increase in the Cypriots' hunger for easy money, which ultimately drives many to commit crimes.

Alithia yesterday reported on House Watchdog Committee Chairman Christos Pourgourides' call to the Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Eftichios Kkolos to resign. "If I were in your position and I had read the Auditor general's report on my department, I would have called the minister to tell him that I was handing in my resignation, and then leave Cyprus," said Pourgourides.

Pourgourides was especially critical of the way pharmaceuticals were handled and dispensed.

Kkolos defended himself by saying he had spent 25 years in the service and no one could dispute his honesty.

"I have done my duty. I believe that I have given my life to the service," Kkolos said.

The committee's stormy session was marked by Health Minister's Frixos Savvides' statement that the pharmaceutical services had been used as an "arena for business spats and differences between medicine importers."

Phileleftheros reported on the suspected embezzlement of 3 million pounds from the Polemidhia Cooperative Bank by two of its employees. The money they had lifted, the paper said, had been invested in the stock market. The amount stolen could be higher, but that would only become clear after an audit, which would take a couple of weeks. According to the newspaper, the two have already returned over 1.5 million in cash and shares. The police had not arrested anyone so far.

Haravghi reported on Defence Minister's Socrates Hasikos' statements about the efforts made to secure a military cooperation deal between Israel and Cyprus. Hasikos said an Israeli delegation was expected to visit Cyprus, though nothing was on paper yet. Haravghi said Hasikos had avoided answering if Greece would be taking part in such an agreement.

Machi reports on the scandal in the Pharmaceutical services, picking up on the angle that the services had become the arena of trade disputes between importers.

On the issue of overpriced medicines, the paper quoted the Health Minister's statements that the audit department was under-staffed and could not cope with the large amount of work.

Machi also reported on the increase in oil prices, and quoted Trade Minister Nicos Rolandis saying the situation was serious because of the current upward trend in oil prices. The oil price, he said, had stabilised at $26 a barrel.

"It looks that the trend will not be downward," Rolandis said.

"It will either stay at $26, or it will go up, since we are entering the winter period and there is an increase in demand," he added.

Machi said that despite the ongoing situation around the world, Cyprus has no fear of running out of oil because companies here were acting responsibly despite the fact that they were losing money.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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