Turkish Cypriot man arrested for alleged irregularities in work permits

The Private Secretary of the TRNC Ministry of Labor and Social Security, was arrested at the weekend over irregularities in work permits.

Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Oğuz Köse, who was charged with abuse of office and bribery, appeared in court once again today.

During the court proceedings, the police provided a detailed account of the investigation. They explained that the allegations made by social media whistleblower Serdinç Maypa, who had been detained on March 28, 2024, and the documents seized during that investigation, led them to Köse, following the court’s directive.

The police stated that on October 31, 2023, Köse had requested a laptop from a company in Iskele that had applied for preliminary permits and work permits for almost 1,000 foreign workers. He claimed the laptop would be used by Ministry staff and that it would speed up the processing of these permits.

Instead of taking the laptop, valued at $1,850, to the Ministry, Köse took it home. The police found that while Köse did use the laptop to access Ministry work remotely, only his personal data was found on the device during their investigation.

On January 29, 2024, Köse obtained a $31,650 offer from a company in Iskele for work to be done at the Kalkanlı Retirement Home. The company had initially stated they could do the job as a donation for $23,500. Despite this, Köse accepted the $31,650 offer, arranged a payment of $25,000, but attempted to invoice $31,650, which the company refused.

After Köse’s arrest, the company filed a complaint. The police noted that Köse has not yet provided the password for his seized mobile phone, though his computer has been examined.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Köse had sent photos of alcoholic beverages and cigars to intermediaries. Consequently, 33 alcoholic beverages worth 168,000 TL and cigars valued at 150,000 TL were seized as evidence. Additionally, 4 pillows given as a gift from the hotel where Köse stayed will be investigated to determine the purpose of the gift. A total of 22 statements have been taken.

In another instance, an irregularity was found in a construction company, which was initially fined the equivalent of 40 minimum wages. However, it was discovered that Köse intervened and reduced the fine to one minimum wage. Testimonies indicated that Köse acquired an apartment worth £90,000  for £50,000 pounds from this company.

The investigation is ongoing and another individual is being sought. The police requested an additional three day detention for Köse.

The judge granted the request, ordering Köse to be detained for a further three days.

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