Pictures - Ethnos newspaper
Over the past two years, much has been spoken of reforms and changes in Greece, but, as proven by the 2011 report of the chief auditor of public administration Leandros Rakindzis, corruption still rules.
Because of the crisis, bribes in the so-called "envelopes" have decreased. At the same time, however, civil servants, caught for corruption, remain unpunished. And this applies to key services such as tax offices, hospitals, town-planning services and insurance funds.
Among the most striking examples are: an employee who has transported illegal immigrants across the border by a business car, a director of tax administration who has issued a certificate of taxes paid to her fiancé and her brother, although they owed taxes to the state, and one of the two men has never submitted a tax return, as well as an employee in an insurance fund, who has granted illegally unemployment benefits to her sister and her husband.
For these and similar violations, the services' disciplinary councils have imposed various penalties, from fines amounting to three monthly wages, to seizure of activity for a period of four months and suspension of salary for the same period. In all these cases, the chief auditor has begun an appeal procedure.
- A tax office employee has issued orders for the payment of 175,000 euro on behalf of several municipalities, and the money then went right into his pocket. The disciplinary board, however, has decided that the appropriate penalty is a temporary suspension of professional activities for a period of six months without the right to salary.
- An employee in a recovery sanatorium had beaten a female colleague of his. For this act, he was sent home for five months only, after which he has returned to his usual duties at work.
- A teacher, who has been sentenced to seven months imprisonment for theft and forgery, was "punished" by his colleagues with a ban of promotion for a period of two years.
The chief auditor has brought into question nearly 10 per cent of a total 1,900 disciplinary solutions which have imposed scandalously light penalties upon offenders.
He pointed out that the delays in completion of disciplinary control are long and the offenders often get away with violations. The chief auditor has investigated 1,403 cases of which 393 have been referred to prosecutors' offices. There are 608 cases of corruption in tax offices and other financial institutions, 122 - in town-planning offices, and 83 - in insurance funds.
The chief auditor of public administration Leandros Rakindzis
He also referred to the case, disclosed a few months ago, of employees in the Ministry of Development, who have granted illegal funding for investment purposes to businessmen for forged documents. He noted that disciplinary inspection as well as the verification of the way they have acquired these large amounts of money, found in their bank accounts, are still continuing. A new report will be issued about them by the end of the year.
Leandros Rakindzis declared himself against the new regulations in disciplinary law which had taken from him the competence to appeal against decisions for officials who have committed perjury. The new law, which began operating in March this year, provides a transit period of the old disciplinary boards. They are the same ones which have issued numerous exonerating decisions. According to the auditor, this regulation is a "serious blow to the public administration."
The chief auditor was particularly critical of municipal councils, which often close streets or introduce one direction traffic only, in order to serve well-known residents and even the members themselves. "They make plans as it suits them. In the Psichico suburb, a special plan to limit the entry of people who do not live there, was made" said the chief auditor and defined these districts as" fiefs".
Other blatant violations are by street kiosks, which have grown so much, that they resemble mini-markets. As a result, there are recorded cases of injured disabled people.