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Manipulations of the Greek statistics enter in the Parliament

21 January 2012 / 20:01:42  GRReporter
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The Economic Prosecutor Grigoris Peponis asked for the materials related to the case of the National Statistical Service of Greece to be sent to the Parliament, the objective being to investigate the possible guilt of the former Prime Minister and members of the previous government.

In the document with his reasons, which he sent to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Peponis states that "from the evidence collected (witnesses and documents), especially from the witnesses’ testimonies, data appear, which are related to acts that are punishable under the law of the responsibility of ministers and persons with specific positions in the Greek government."

Peponis claimed that many of the statements "openly talk about exaggeration and random setting of the budget deficit in 2009 on the one hand, and on the other hand about the guilt of the Prime Minister at the time, the cabinet ministers and finance ministers."

The case for which a preliminary investigation was initiated on 19th September, refers to signals published in the media by Zoe Georganta related to the artificial exaggeration of the revised deficit for 2009.  She is a lecturer in econometrics at the Macedonian University of Thessaloniki and a former member of the National Statistical Service of Greece,

Zoe Georganta claimed that in November 2010 under the pressure of Eurostat, the National Statistical Service of Greece had indicated that the deficit for 2009 amounted to 15.4% instead of 12 - 13% as it actually was, in order for more adverse economic measures to be taken. Georganta claimed that the exaggeration of the deficit had been made including state structural enterprises, without making any statistical measurements in advance, as this is done in Europe.

During the investigation, the Economic Prosecutor Peponis had sent a subpoena to Professor Andreas Georgiou, President of the National Statistical Service of Greece, as a suspect, however he has not yet received any testimony from him.

The document explaining the reasons of Peponis along with the extensive file on the case were forwarded to Nikos Pandelis, Deputy Prosecutor of the Supreme Court and Head of Economic prosecutors, who is responsible for the procedure of sending the case to the parliament.

The request of the economic prosecutor caused a reaction by the present Minister of the Environment George Papaconstantinou, who served as Minister of Finance during the period in question as well as that of the National Statistical Service of Greece.

National Statistical Service of Greece: We do not carry out governmental assignments

"Accounting for the country's deficit is a prerogative of the Hellenic Statistical Service. According to the law, the service in question is an independent authority when it comes to the accounting for the deficit, and therefore it neither accepts nor performs governmental assignments », was noted in a statement, released by the National Statistical Service of Greece.

"The statistics are based on EU regulations and the rules of good practice. It is therefore important to understand that statistics are not "prepared" to serve any political interests.

As an independent authority the National Statistical Service of Greece duly performs its statutory obligation to produce reliable true statistics. The unreserved approval of these data by the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) proves their reliability. Therefore, it is inappropriate to challenge the independence of the Hellenic Statistical Service and to shake the public confidence in the reliability of its data", said in conclusion the message of the institution.

George Papaconstantinou: This action raises important questions

In turn, Papaconstantinou indicated that the action of economic prosecutors "raises important question marks" because "in practice it questions the Greek data confirmed by the European Statistical Service."

The Minister of the Environment reminded that as a Minister of Finance he has taken the initiative "for the independence of the Hellenic statistical service, so as for the political interference, which discredited the country and its citizens in previous periods, to be stopped", and he, himself, has shown extreme respect for the independence of the institution.

"Unfortunately today, attempts are being made to criminalize the actual truth about the truly deplorable state which the country had reached in 2009," said in conclusion Papaconstantinou.

The reaction of PASOK

PASOK spokesman Panos Beglitis also reacted harshly earlier. In a statement he made, he indicated that if the request of the economic prosecutor "is not just another case of dangerous naivety, then we are dealing with a well-organized intervention in political and economic life, which endangers the national interests. This is coming exactly in what is an extremely difficult period for the country and our people."

He also urged the Supreme Court to take all lawful actions, and said in conclusion: "Nobody has the right to play with national interests, with the political system and the proper functioning of the democracy."

The position of New Democracy

"The fact that the economic prosecutor Peponis sent today the file with the case of the National Statistical Service of Greece to the Supreme Court, raises two important questions which are critical for the difficult situation in which the country finds itself today", notes the spokesman of New Democracy Yiannis Mihelakis.

Tags: National Statistical Service of Greece investigation economic prosecutor Grigoris Peponis
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