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There is money for officials who violated their oath

16 February 2013 / 17:02:08  GRReporter
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The slow process of assuming responsibility by officials who violated their oath is yet another example of the poor functioning of disciplinary councils in public organisations. Meanwhile, the investigation at the Insurance Fund which ended some time ago revealed that the financial damage caused at the branch of Kalithea was almost three times higher than the initial estimates that amounted to 6 million euro.

In a period in which wages, pensions and allowances are constantly being cut, the fact that three employees, who were in service at the time of their arrest, are still receiving 50% of their salary is very impressive. Although this is legal, since they are on leave of absence, the following question arises: why has the process for the final annulment of their wages been delayed? "They will soon pass through the Disciplinary Council. But in order for this to happen, first we had to complete investigations in the Insurance Fund's offices," said Chairman of the Council of IKA Workers in Athens and member of the Disciplinary Council Vangelis Theodoridis. He said that he would do everything possible for these employees to be dismissed on disciplinary grounds and punished. Namely the two retired defendants who are also still receiving their pensions. According to IKA's source, pensions are a constitutional right and there is no way for these to be annulled.

Regarding the damage caused by the group that allocated allowances to people without the necessary documents, the initial amount of 6 million euro is just the tip of the iceberg. The inspection that ended several days ago showed that the damage is much greater. According to information, it amounted to 16 million euro. A source of the Fund told Ethnos newspaper that of the department's 17 employees responsible for control, 15 dealt with this case alone for several months. Their findings were completely contrary to the claims of the accused before the inspector. They admitted their activities, but said that they had caused damage to the Fund amounting to only a few hundred thousand euro. This statement contradicted the super luxury way of living of five of the seven defendants, who lived in houses that they could not afford with their salaries.

The Fund wants the property of the accused to be confiscated, if their guilt is proven, in order to compensate for some of the damage. A senior employee of the Fund emphasised that all property had been attached, and that the court would insist that everything should be confiscated. For the moment, this real estate cannot be transferred or sold.

The date of the trial has not yet been determined, but in early March the accused will have been arrested for a year now, and it will be decided whether they will be released on bail or if the period of detention will be extended.

This year, the rest of the employees of the Fund in Kalithea, who were not involved in the case, assured that citizens have not forgotten anything and are furious. Mr. Theodoridis said frankly that citizens focussed all their anger regarding what had happened in the country in the past years on officials. When an employee is late in meeting their obligations, citizens make offensive remarks, asking them how much money they will take in order to do their work, reminiscent of the story of the diapers (a police operation in the houses of the accused discovered 960,000 euro in a box of diapers, four cheques amounting to 110,000 euro, 45 insurance licences and 13 seals of various departments of the Fund in Kallithea). The scars on the reputation of the Fund in Kallithea will take a long time to disappear. Employees know this and, despite their complaints, the situation is not improving. People talk about the Fund in Kalithea in the worst terms possible, which is unfair to honest workers, Theodoris added.

Major frauds discovered last year in the IKA Insurance Fund in Kalithea have ... the scent of a woman. 55-year-old Eleni Bourazani, Christina Patheraki (52) and Chrisoula Ferra (52) who worked in this branch at the time were leaders of the group. Two retired employees of the Fund - Christina Souridi (68) and Mirsini Tomakou (66), as well as Konstantinos Karaiskos (66) and Alexandros Ematidis (43), Bourazani and Patheraki's husbands, were also active players. The way they have acted since 2003 has been very simple. Employees of the Fund gave allowances to existing and unreal people without the necessary documents and kept much of the money for themselves. Most times, they came into contact with insured people who needed money very badly and convinced them to participate in the fraud, assuring them that no one would ever find out what happened. Testimonies made it clear that whenever insured people received their allowances cheques accompanied by a member of the group, they cashed these in a bank. They kept a small amount that rarely exceed 500 euro, while the rest of the money was given immediately to the accompanying person.

The investigation revealed, among other things, that because of these frauds, births of twins in Kalithea increased dramatically. Investigators found that, often, unmarried women received benefits for childbirth or hospitalisation, while they were at work regularly. The illegal activity of the group, that lasted for years, was very profitable. Three of the accused have built super luxury villas in Varnavas, Lagonissi and Evia. Luxury cars were also confiscated.

Tags: Insurance Fund IKA frauds Kalithea
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