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Mystery donor offers computers for all pupils

CYPRUS

MINISTERS have refused to consider a mystery offer to supply all teachers and students with a computer unless the donors identify themselves.

But the donors, represented by a law firm, have made it clear that the offer of 160,000 free computers worth pound;426 million is conditional on their anonymity.

Education minister Ouranios Ioannides said last week that the government had to be absolutely sure that the donors had the "capability" to fulfil their offer.

"Our position is that the representative company must indicate the non-profit-making organisation making the donation, before we can discuss anything further with them," Mr Ioannides said.

Local computer suppliers have been lobbying the minister to turn down the unprecedented offer, saying the donation would ruin the local computer business.

"If companies come from abroad and say we will implement this project ignoring local companies, then we will react," said Nicos Nicolaou of the computer suppliers' association.

Before the Cabinet decision, lawyers said that the would-be donors wished to remain anonymous to avoid a flood of begging letters. But they also said that the name of the donors would be revealed if the government accepted the offer.

"The decision to make this donation to the Cypriot people is binding and irrevocable," lawyer Christos Theodorou said.

"In the unlikely event that the government of Cyprus decides to take a negative stance, then the donation will be made directly to the Cypriot people, and to every home where there are students or teachers."

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