The police report on the findings of the investigation into the discovery of top-secret state documents stashed in bags under a staircase at the health ministry is still in the president’s hands, while the controversy continues. Government spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides had said that President Papadopoulos would study the report and then discuss it with the attorney-general.
According to press reports, the 14-page report did not assign responsibility to anybody but outlined how the documents ended up under the stairs from testimonies given by ministry staff.
The documents were found by a journalist who said he had repeatedly visited the ministry to collect information for himself before realizing the severity of their contents and deciding to alert the authorities.
Health Minister Dina Akkelidou lashed out at those who called for her resignation over the affair saying she would not quit over other peoples’ mistakes.
“I am not going to submit my resignation for the mistakes of those who ask for my resignation,” Akkelidou said.
She slammed the previous administration for its “total lack of respect” for documents of the highest importance, which should have been stored according to the regulations of the state archive.
“The documents were circulating and were kept in open cupboards in the offices of ministers who had nothing to do with those issues,” the minister said.
“There are rules, which have to be followed; if they were not followed for the large number of files, which is said were found, the responsibility is not mine.”
House Watchdog Committee chairman, DISY’s Christos Pourgourides, said there had been no choice but to launch an immediate investigation into the affair.
“But what’s surprising is the fact that once again no one is assuming any responsibility, which is a permanent tactic followed in Cyprus while it is clear there are responsibilities,” Pourgourides said.
State television reported that more top-secret documents in bin bags have been found outside the ministry of Education.
Former Defense Minister Socrates Hasikos told reporters on Friday that Health Minister Dina Akkelidou should stop whining and take proper responsibility for leaving important top-secret government documents in open bin bags under the Ministry of Health’s staircase.
Akkelidou was very upset by Hasikos’ remarks likening her to a housewife, throwing things away without any regard to their importance or security.
She suggested that Hasikos should apologize to local women’s rights groups for his chauvinist statements.
But Hasikos is standing by what he said.
“Dina Akkelidou has an important political responsibility here, and with this whole bin bag incident, she just left these important papers out in the open. Now she’s deflecting that criticism and not owning up to what she’s done,” he said.
Education Minister Pefkios Georgiades said Friday he had nothing to do with the dumping of top-secret documents, after another batch was found on Thursday, prompting a fresh police investigation.
Politis newspaper claimed on Friday the papers, which contained minutes of a cabinet meeting held in April, 2002, were handed to the journalist by a man claiming he had found them in rubbish bags outside the ministry a few weeks ago.
But Georgiades was quick to deny having any knowledge about any classified documents from the previous administration, claiming that when he took over as minister, he found all his drawers empty.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Georgiades said former Education Minister Ouranios Ioannides had supervised the disposal of all confidential documents in his ministry before he left.
“When I took over as minister, I found my office drawers empty,” he said.
“This was also clarified by Mr. Ioannides, who said publicly that he had given specific orders for the proper disposal of any documents containing information on cabinet meetings held by the previous administration.”