Civil service inspector sees ‘two steps forward, one step back’

Public administration inspector Leandros Rakintzis, tasked with rooting out corruption in the civil service, presented his annual report to Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Tuesday, saying that «we are on the right path,» but protesting a recent law curbing the scope of his powers.

“Corruption has not grown in the civil service, but it is being uncovered and possibly punished, as the monitoring mechanisms are beginning to work,» Rakintzis told Papoulias during his presentation at the Presidential Mansion.

“We are on the right path,» Rakintzis added.

The report on results drawn from inspections carried out in 2011 shows that the amount of bribes being paid and the overall level of corruption has fallen considerably. In July, Rakintzis had suggested that the economic crisis has contributed to this decline simply because citizens could no longer afford to pay bribes in order to expedite business with the state.

On Tuesday, the public administration inspector added that the drop in graft may also be attributed to improvements in the monitoring mechanism and tougher disciplinary measures, though he lamented the fact that his own powers have been restricted by a recent law prohibiting him from re-examining decisions reached by disciplinary councils in the civil service.

“We are taking two steps forward and one step back,» Rakintzis told Papoulias after being asked to comment on Law 4057/2012. «I was stripped of the authority to appeal decisions by first-instance disciplinary councils because the new councils will apparently be made up of judges,» he said.

“The aim of allowing the inspector to participate in the disciplinary process is to ensure that the disciplinary law is being enforced more effectively and that the disciplinary action imposed is suitable,» Rakintzis said in his report, adding his concern that the lack of oversight may lead to the appearance of impunity.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.