Cypriot attorney-general Costas Clerides has rejected a demand by the country’s auditor-general that a criminal investigation be carried out against the Ombudswoman for Cyprus, Maria Stylianou-Lottidou.
This was due to her refusal to allow an administrative audit of her office’s affairs.
Mr. Clerides affirmed that the auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides had the authority to carry out a financial investigation, but not an administrative audit.
In his legal opinion the attorney-general made strong reference to the Venice Principles and the letter by IOI President, Peter Tyndall.
The letter states that the proposed audit into the administrative affairs of the Ombudswoman was contrary to the Venice Principles and would interfere in the independence of the Office.
Mr. Clerides stressed that the information requested by Mr. Michaelides formed part of the annual reports submitted by the Ombudswoman to the Cypriot President and the House of Representatives.
As a result, “the issue of whether the information should be provided to the auditor-general was raised unnecessarily and deems no further legal interpretation”.
In December 2019, the IOI President sent letters of support for Ms. Stylianou-Lottidou to the President of Cyprus, the Cypriot Parliament and the attorney-general criticising the continuous interference into the affairs of the Ombudswoman in breach of the Venice Principles.
Source: Office of the Ombudsman, Ireland