PPC charges remain hot

Ruling New Democracy officials and the main opposition PASOK party yesterday continued their sparring in Parliament in the wake of corruption allegations leveled by Public Power Corporation (PPC) chief Yiannis Paleokrassas in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini. Paleokrassas, a former finance minister, claimed that senior officials were involved in corrupt collusions of interest in the corporation’s huge investment and procurements programs. «Neither the prime minister nor any minister has a guilty conscience,» said Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas in response to insinuations by PASOK deputies that the government dares not touch Paleokrassas because he knows too much, possibly even about involvement of the prime minister himself in such practices. «Paleokrassas has expressed his views and has sought recourse with justice, the judgment of which we must all await. It is clear that whoever possesses evidence of illegal acts must hand it over to justice,» Sioufas added. Paleokrassas is government-appointed. The exchanges took place during discussion of the bill on deregulating the electric power industry, which was passed with PASOK’s support. PASOK-affiliated MP Stefanos Manos, a former New Democracy minister, said the bill was a step forward but still inadequate. «The bill does bring on a degree of deregulation but a small one, just to keep the European Union from complaining. I do not believe that tariffs will come down for consumers, for the simple reason that PPC tariffs are lower than production costs – subsidized by the state,» he said. Manos added that PPC should change orientation and consider building small nuclear or hydrogen power plants. «Otherwise, we shall become major importers of electricity,» he warned.