Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras has requested and received the resignation of President and CEO of the state mining company LARKO Anasthasios Barakos. The cause was the failure to observe the law under which the salaries of public sector employees had to be reduced by 30 per cent. According to the ministry, the issue of enforcing the law had been placed with a decision of the annual general meeting earlier this year, but yielded no result. Furthermore, the company management had even increased the wages, arguing that they were correlated with the production process.
The resignation of Anasthasios Barakos happened a day after the Prime Minister’s order that ministers should penalize under the fast-track procedure the managers of state enterprises who had not reduced the salaries of employees thus violating the law for more than a year.
Antonis Samaras has also ordered ostentatious and fast punishment of civil servants, who violate the law. Senior representatives of the ministries of finance, employment and justice are already discussing new legislation that would allow the fast punishment of civil servants not observing the law.
The Prime Minister had ordered the enforcement of the specific measures after being notified of the holes in the budget and the alternative measures discussed. When the talk came to illegal pensions, Antonis Samaras indicated that this phenomenon was not only draining huge sums of money from the insurance funds but was also reducing the confidence in Greece.
The Prime Minister said that his foreign interlocutors had often asked how disability pensions in Germany could be 8 per cent of the total number of pensions compared to the 13 per cent in Greece and requested to be informed about the progress of criminal proceedings against those involved in the fraud. "We must uncover the networks, physicians, administrative staff and all those, who have contributed to these frauds. They should be charged immediately," he said when informed that cases like the one with the hundreds of bogus blind people on the island of Zakynthos were still at the stage of preliminary inquest.
Meanwhile, the first punitive measures against state officials with burgeoning and, of course, secret bank accounts have been taken. A disciplinary judicial council dismissed a senior civil servant once nearly eight million were found in thirty bank accounts in her name. A criminal investigation against her is already underway and the authorities should find out how this money was obtained.
The specific woman had been working at the Athens Administrative Court for 31 years. The inspection by the control authorities has revealed that she also owns a large number of properties, and she and her husband were shareholders in a limited liability company.
During her testimony before the Disciplinary Judicial Council, she said that she had not specified the large amounts in her tax returns because there had been no change in her property status for years.
State administration auditors, who investigate bank accounts, verify the property records and compare the data collected, revealed the case after an inspection. The investigation has shown that thirteen civil servants have over 25 million euro in total in bank accounts or other property, which are not commensurate with their income. Administrative and criminal investigations have been filed against all of them because it is believed that they violated not only the tax law but also there might be cases of regularization of funds obtained from criminal and other activities.
Depending on the developments of criminal proceedings and if the guilty civil servants are convicted with no right to appeal, the state could trigger procedures for the money and property obtained illegally.