NEWS

Ex-minister calls for probe of army purchases

The general secretary of the Justice Ministry, Giorgos Sourlas, has asked prosecutors to investigate armed forces procurements over the past decade following indications that supplies have been purchased at hugely inflated prices, it emerged over the weekend.

According to claims by Sourlas, a former health minister, a pyrolysis machine acquired in 2002 for the country’s armed forces was purchased at more than double its estimated value, suggesting that officials benefited from the overpricing.

The machine – a vat which uses a combination of fire and electrical current to remove worn rubber from tank tracks – was purchased for just over 6 million euros, more than double the original estimated value of the tank, which was 2.8 million euros, according to Sourlas. Shortly after its acquisition, the equipment was deemed to be in need of repair and another 858,317 euros was disbursed for maintenance, Sourlas said.

The former minister added that the mediator for the firm which supplied the equipment was a former armed forces officer who used to oversee a tank production factory in Greece.

In a statement Sourlas called on authorities to investigate the procurement in question and trace “the unethical and the corrupt.”

A series of prosecutors’ investigations into state defense procurements have revealed that officials pocketed millions of euros in kickbacks to secure deals for particular firms.

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