Ex-premier rapped over Siemens

Justice Minister Haris Kastanidis on Friday leveled stinging accusations against Costas Simitis during a parliamentary debate on the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal, accusing the former premier of stalling and eventually quashing legislation designed to establish political control over the way public contracts are awarded.

Revealing correspondence between Simitis and himself in 1996 and 1997, when he had been transport minister under Simitis, Kastanidis claimed that the former premier had at first prevented him from submitting in Parliament draft legislation foreseeing the creation of an independent authority for public procurements and that he had then scrapped the proposal outright as unnecessary, even though it had been among PASOK?s pre-election pledges.

Kastanidis also said that Simitis had failed to respond to repeated letters from him asking for such a system to be set up, until the minister finally resigned in August 1997.