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National coordinator will lead the fight against corruption in Greece

28 November 2012 / 22:11:06  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

"Corruption costs Greece 20 billion euro per year and bureaucracy – another 8 billion. There is no way to achieve growth under these conditions, "said the Chief Auditor of Public Administration, Leandros Rakintzis, at the Conference “State & Corruption: Institutions - From the Fall to the Rise” organized by the Greek branch of Transparency International.

During the roundtable discussion "Institutions fighting corruption," the coordinator of the Task force for Greece, Theo Strijker, explained the recent "roadmap" to reduce corruption. As he pointed out, a new institution - a national coordinator in the fight against corruption, would be set up in the country. Only one person would be in charge of it, thus avoiding the establishment of new and new agencies of actually the same obligations, which is common in the country.

The national coordinator will follow an anti-corruption strategy related to prevention, strengthening the collaboration with other institutions and cooperation with society. The institution will be established immediately after the vote on the bill, which has been submitted to parliament for voting. "What we need to do is to strengthen the coordination at political level, inspections, surveys and investigations." "What we need to do is to strengthen the coordination at political level, inspections, surveys and investigations," added Theo Strijker.

The question about whether to establish a new institution among the numerous others fighting corruption or not was the major issue of the discussion. According to the prosecutor and former director of the service combating financial crime, Ioannis Diotis, the legal framework in Greece is sufficient and modern, but the establishment of a corruption prosecutor is not a good idea. "The job could be assigned to the prosecutor of the Supreme Court, who supervises the work of the services associated with the prosecution of corruption," he said.

The chairman of the commission fighting the legalization of proceeds from criminal activities, Panagiotis Nikoloudis said, "The existence of many institutions fighting corruption is not harmful in any way." His argument in support of this thesis was that if different institutions took different cases, the competition between them could bring positive results.

The most useful from a practical point of view was the presentation by the teacher at the Athens University of Economics, Diomidis Spinelis. He demonstrated how the citizens themselves could inform of cases of corruption and assist public authorities in fighting it. "We have launched the website teleiakaipavla.gr, on which the citizens can report where, when and by whom they were forced to pay for a treatment or a service. We do not keep the data of people, so nobody could require a database, because there is not one."

A map shows the cases of corruption in various places in Greece, separate lists contain the places where the highest number of similar cases was registered, and another one presents the positive examples. Everyone fills in the information on how the bribes were required, the amount requested and given. The majority of previously described cases are for doctors in public hospitals who wanted money from patients or their relatives directly or in a covert way. According to Diomidis Spinelis, the purpose of the website is to connect the citizens with the responsible institutions because "We cannot fight corruption without their participation." The developers of the platform are planning to translate it into English so that other countries can use it as well. The cases declared so far show that the money that has sunk into the black hole of corruption amounts to 210,836 euro.

The Chief Auditor of Public Administration Leandros Rakintzis confirmed that the fight against corruption could not take place without public participation.

"After I find a case of corruption, I initiate a disciplinary persecution of the guilty employee and then send the data to the prosecutor’s office with the request to initiate criminal persecution. My competency ends here." "After I find a case of corruption, I initiate a disciplinary persecution of the guilty employee and then send the data to the prosecutor’s office with the request to initiate criminal persecution. My competency ends here,"he told GRReporter.

He defined the results achieved at disciplinary level as positive, but did not hide his dissatisfaction with the operation of the justice system. "I have not ceased to protest against the state of justice, disciplinary law and against the fact that I have been deprived of the right to appeal, because the disciplinary procedure loses its power in this way."

According to the Chief Auditor, there are more than a few cases in which the delay of inspections results in disciplinary and criminal responsibility void by prescription.

Tags: PoliticsSocietyCorruptionPublic administrationNational coordinator
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