Naval base explosion raises questions in Cyprus

Maria Kapardis from Transparency Cyprus, which joined the Transparency International movement this year, calls for series of measures to be taken by the Cypriot Government following an explosion on naval base.

Earlier this month an enormous explosion at the Mari Naval Bases killed 13 people, destroying the base, hundreds of homes and a nearby power plant. The story behind the explosion is a sad tale of bureaucratic incompetence and opacity. News reports say explosive material was being kept at the base, and nobody acted on warnings that they needed to be moved.

Transparency in Cyprus (TC), a politically independent, non-profit and non-governmental organisation, with a view to contributing to the strengthening of civil society and the improvement of the quality of public and private governance in Cyprus . TC promotes transparency, integrity and accountability. In response to the broader effort of the society for effective solutions to the problems of corruption, unethical behaviour TC reemphasises two suggestions following the explosion:

We suggest that an Independent Commission Against Corruption similar to the ones in Australia and Hong Kong be set up and that legislation similar to the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1989 (USA) or the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (UK) be enacted.

TC is not asking for a one off enquiry: we are asking for a permanent body called Independent Commission Against Corruption be set up, that would be available to investigate all corruption issues that arise in our country.

Due to the major economic crisis Cyprus is facing at the moment, it will need to prove to the outside world, including the European Union that it is doing all possible to combat corruption and to encourage whistle-blowers to come forward. Perhaps if such a legislation was in force the Helios Plane Crash in 2005 and the explosion of 11 July 2011 would have been prevented.

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