Attorney General Costas Clerides told MPs yesterday he needed more time to complete the investigation into the collapse of the economy.
Clerides, who attended the meeting with Deputy AG Rikkos Erotocritou, asked the House Institutions Committee to be particularly cautious in recording their findings in order not to undermine cases that may go to court.
Committee chairman Demetris Syllouris said the meeting had clarified a number of procedural and legal issues that will allow it to enter the final stage of its report.
The AG asked the committee for an extension, stressing that the Legal Service is fully aware of its responsibilities.
“The delay is not unjustified, it is a time lapse that is being used to the fullest in order to do the best possible job in a planned way, away from any publicity and I think that we have to support the effort and avoid expressing any discomfort at the timeframe,” Clerides continued.
“We have to credit the investigating authorities and the Legal Service with the fact that they are fully aware of the responsibility they have undertaken.”
Commenting on the experts that will be called in, Clerides said that interviews were carried out at the end of December and assessed by the AG and his deputy, as well as the team put together by the Legal Service.
He pointed out, however, that the Legal Service is taking additional measures to achieve the most contained, targeted and effective use of the experts’ services, as “the aim is not only to appoint an expensive firm and wait for months for results, but to avoid million of euros in mistakes that others have made”.
Regarding the involvement of foreign auditing firms in the investigation, Clerides said the firms selected will act independently and away from any connections to firms in Cyprus.
The Attorney General asked the committee to be very careful with regards to any conclusions of the House investigation, stressing that the committee’s report must not allow individuals to claim that their civil rights have been violated.
“We are aware of cases where such legal phenomena have been employed. This could lead to negative results for the case, even an acquittal. The committee’s work will be used to the fullest extent by the investigating team,” Clerides said. Director General of the House Vasiliki Anastasiades said the committee was under enormous pressure on issues that are beyond its control, stressing that the House’s services cannot serve as a substitute for the investigating authorities.