Cyprus Community of NSW President Andrew Costa resigns amid ongoing tension

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Andrew Costa, the President of the Cyprus Community of NSW (CCNSW), has tendered his resignation citing internal conflicts, financial mismanagement, and a lack of transparency within the Board.

Mr Costa’s decision comes after months of trying to navigate a Board he claims had become increasingly “intransigent.”

In a statement to The Greek Herald, Mr Costa stated a number of reasons for his resignation, including the consistent opposition he faced when attempting to fill vacancies on the Board.

Mr Costa said that despite the Community’s Constitution stipulating guidelines for a nine-member Board, his proposal to appoint two additional members to the current seven-member Board were met with opposition. This refusal to expand the Board raised concerns about unity, especially in light of recent rezoning efforts.

Another issue that Mr Costa highlighted was the board’s problematic relationship with Cyprus Capital Ltd. As per a resolution from the Community’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in 2019, Cyprus Capital is currently the only legitimate lender to the Community other than Bendigo Bank. Mr Costa said despite the resolution and ongoing support from Cyprus Capital in 2023, the Board has failed to cooperate with the lender’s efforts to refinance the Bendigo Bank loan which matures on March 19 this year.

Additionally, Mr Costa raised concerns regarding Assistant Treasurer Chris Papantoniou’s actions in negotiating a loan with a private lender, which Mr Costa alleged was not authorised.

Mr Costa also claimed he was restricted by Secretary Peter Kitas around access to communications and critical documents, severely hampering his ability to fulfill his responsibilities as President.

As a result of these challenges, Mr Costa felt compelled to step down and explained that despite his efforts to maintain Board unity, “the actions of certain Directors have severely constrained my ability to lead effectively and protect the interests of the Community.”

andrew costa cyprus community of nsw resigns president
Andrew Costa has resigned as President of the Cyprus Community of NSW. Photo copyright The Greek Herald / Andriana Simos.

“The Community’s Auditor and the internal Audit Committee have been requested to investigate these issues. My commitment to acting with principle and integrity in the best interests of our members remains unwavering,” Mr Costa added.

Vice President Michael Kyriakou will be acting interim President of the Community until further notice. Mr Costa will remain in the CCNSW as a Board member.

‘Working towards resolving internal conflicts’:

In response to the President’s reasons for resignation, Secretary Peter Kitas and Assistant Treasurer Chris Papantoniou have provided a statement to “correct misconceptions.”

Regarding the opposition to filling vacancies on the Board, Mr Kitas and Mr Papantoniou said “the CCNSW Constitution states a maximum of nine members, not a minimum. The constitution requires a quorum of six board members, as stipulated in Article 25.”

“Furthermore, the Corporations Act, which supersedes our constitution, only requires a minimum of three directors for a quorum in board meetings. Therefore, the board has been operating within the legal framework and in accordance with our constitution,” they said.

On Mr Costa’s concern regarding Cyprus Capital and his reference to the 2019 EGM resolution, Mr Kitas and Mr Papantoniou said “it does not hold for the current refinance required.”

“The board has been diligently seeking alternative financing options and has been acting in the best interest of the community based on legal advice obtained,” they said.

With regards to the financial management concerns raised, the pair said the Board had requested all members explore the market for potential funding options back in October 2022. Mr Papantoniou was able to secure funding to pay out both Cyprus Capital Ltd and Bendigo Bank.

andrew costa cyprus community of nsw resigns president
Vice President Michael Kyriakou will be acting interim president of the Community until further notice.

“It is important to note that at no stage did we breach our fiduciary duties. There were initial fees and payments for valuations required, which were covered by a deposit fee that goes towards the necessary legal expenses,” the statement read.

Further to the claim that Mr Costa has been restricted access to information, Mr Kitas denied these allegations and said “the only item that has not been provided to the President or board members is the membership list of the Club.”

“This is essential to maintain the confidentiality of the members for privacy and security reasons, as agreed upon by the board. However, the auditor of the Club has been provided with all necessary items, including financial information, in line with standard auditing procedures,” he said.

The statement concludes with a message to members, assuring them that although recent events “have caused confusion,” the Board remains committed to acting in the best interests of the Cyprus Community of NSW.

“We appreciate your continued support and understanding as we work towards resolving any internal conflicts and ensuring a transparent and accountable governance structure for the CCNSW,” the statement reads.

The CCNSW now faces a significant EGM to be held on February 11 where members of the community are urged to stay informed and participate actively in shaping the future of the Community.

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