Offending civil servants face tougher penalties

New disciplinary rules for civil servants will lead to those found guilty of offenses being sacked or facing fines of up to 100,000 euros, according to legislation being prepared by the Interior Ministry.

Under the proposed framework, offending state workers will face a range of penalties, which include losing their job, being relegated to the lowest position and pay in their sector, having their pay docked for up to a year and being fined up to 100,000 euros.

Also, the statute of limitations that applies to their offenses is to be increased from two years to five or seven, sources said. Any public sector employees who commit three offenses in five years will lose their jobs.

The range of offenses for which a civil servant can be disciplined will include failing to carry out their duty, being absent without reason, failing to cooperate with authorities, accepting bribes and using the influence of third parties to gain preferential treatment.

Sources said that Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis also wants the disciplinary process for civil servants to be speeded up.

?The dispensation of justice is so slow that the system currently allows an offending civil servant to retire before a penalty is imposed on him or her,? Ragousis said recently.

A report last July by the general inspector of public administration, Leandros Rakintzis, revealed a series of offenses that were committed by public servants. More than 4,000 checks were carried out by state inspectors last year on source of wealth declarations (?pothen esches?) submitted by officials in central and local government. These inspections resulted in a total of 909 officials being indicted to appear before a prosecutor on a range of charges.

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