Report highlights state profligacy

The annual report by the State Audit Council highlights widespread wasteful spending in the public sector, illegal payments and unjustifiably high expenses including 38,500 euros for the funeral of a former mayor and 5,500 euros for the purchase of cigars by the Development Ministry.

The report, which examines state spending at the central and local level in 2010 – the year that Greece imposed its first raft of austerity measures in exchange for international rescue loans – was submitted to Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis on Thursday.

Even as millions of Greeks were seeing their salaries and pensions slashed, the authorities continued with excessive spending and the unchecked recruitment of staff and advisers, according to the report which found that the state made 148 million euros in illegal payments in 2010. In the majority of these cases there were no prosecutions. Only officials responsible for 13.5 million euros’ worth of these illegal payments were indicted to appear before a prosecutor, according to the report, while it remained unclear whether any of them were tried and convicted.

Hundreds of pages of the report are devoted to a plethora of provocative expenses including 23,500 euros for an event at a provincial technical college marking the traditional cutting of the New Year’s cake, 4,500 euros for commissioning a painting of a deceased former mayor of Piraeus and 8,200 euros for leasing buses to transport municipal workers from the provinces to Athens to protest an overhaul of local government.

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