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Power corporation trade union has taken over two million by writing up costs

04 April 2012 / 16:04:58  GRReporter
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Economic police in Greece and the service controlling the public administration found that the trade union of DEI (the Greek Public Power Corporation) has engaged in fraud worth millions of euro by writing up costs for forums, seminars and other educational activities. "Evidence suggests that a particular trip was invoiced for 101 thousand euro but after an inspection, it turned out that it was actually worth 73 thousand euro." This is just one example of overpricing invoices that the chief supervisor of the activities of public administration Leandros Rakidzis gave to exemplify the fraudulent schemes used by Greek trade unions through the years to withdraw public money.

The organization for social activities at GENOP-DEI, which is the union organization of the power corporation, had an old practice of overpricing different events and the difference went into the hands of unknown favoured persons. The findings of inspection bodies show that GENOP- DEI organized 29 events and seminars for the period 2008-2011. They were invoiced for 1.2 million euro but the actual costs did not exceed the 886 thousand euro.

For years, there have been rumours that Greek unions are masters in financial manoeuvres. The investigation of controlling authorities shows that these rumours might be completely truthful. The organization invoiced costs for 57 thousand euro for the reception of 30 Serbian unionists, while the actual value of the event is estimated at 26.5 thousand euro. Whether the Serbian unionists themselves came to Greece for this seminar or other training event is questionable too. Similar is the case with 37 Moroccan guests of GENOP-DEI, for which 101 thousand euro were allocated and the cost of the visit did not exceed 30 thousand euro.

One way to "use" public funds for unclear purposes is to invite members of a trade union from another country to an international seminar on problems of social policy (for example!) and to require the passport details of the participants. Then, the scheduled event is cancelled for foreign guests, without cancelling the cost of the event. The cases of overpricing or allocated funds for unrealized events filled the reports of supervisors and now, they are waiting for their turn to become a formal prosecutor’s investigation.

A journey to Italy

An example of how to spend government money in times of crisis is the journey to Italy, organized by the union of the power corporation. The five-day journey was planned for 46 people and the total cost of it was calculated at around 50 thousand euro. However, the state approved the cost of 109 thousand euro. It is not yet clear whether the difference was used as pin money by the poor trade unionists or for the repairs of someone’s villa but the fact is that nobody has inspected the difference of 59 thousand euro.

The response by the trade union of the power corporation

"All bank accounts of all union members should be open to a review of the transactions of the last 20 years," said Nikos Fotopoulos to Mega, who is the chairman of GENOP-DEI. He is adamant that the charges of the economic police and supervisory service of public administration are the result of political machinations and the data exposed in the public domain are false and malign the name of the union force in the country. "If even a euro deposited by me is found or any kind of unjustified purchase, I will not only resign, but will kill myself," said Fotopoulos in his typically pathetic tone in connection with recent revelations.

Tags: EconomyMarketsGreek trade unionsGENOPDEIFraudTripsFictitious invoicesCosts
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