NEWS

Government wants to name corrupt public servants

Greece?s privacy watchdog has been asked by the government to allow it to publish the names of corrupt civil servants as part of stricter rules that are due to be introduced in the public sector.

Sources told Kathimerini that Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis has asked the Hellenic Data Protection Authority (APPD) to allow the publication of names of bureaucrats who have been found guilty by disciplinary committees of offenses such as accepting bribes, embezzling funds or blackmail. Their names would be made public only after appeals against guilty rulings are turned down.

The measure is part of a package being put together by the government that envisages tougher penalties and a speedier disciplinary process for civil servants who step out of line.

One of the crucial changes that the Interior Ministry wants to introduce is for there to be no union representation on the disciplinary panels that judge individual cases. The government believes that the presence of union members has led to some public servants being dealt with very leniently in the past.

Under the new set of rules, internal investigations will have to be wrapped up in less than a month and the five-year statute of limitations will apply from when authorities become aware of a possible offense rather than when the offense is meant to have been committed. This would lead to fewer offenders escaping punishment, government officials say.

Any public employee that is found guilty of an offense during an internal investigation will be automatically suspended from work pending trial in a court of law. The minimum penalty for an offense will be three months? pay, rather than the current one month, unless the civil servant is sacked due financial wrongdoing, in which case the fines will be between 10,000 and 100,000 euros.