NEWS

Graft is blooming in public bodies

During their annual checkup on the inner workings of public bodies last year, inspectors discovered 51 cases that required disciplinary action or criminal charges during some 100 probes, according to a report made public yesterday. The report – essentially an inquiry into the level of corruption in public administration – noted that of the 106 investigations last year, 20 led to the filing of criminal charges and 31 resulted in disciplinary proceedings. The number of probes almost doubled from 2003. «This increase in work [by inspectors], did not prevent phenomena [of corruption] which damage transparency in public administration, from existing and being numerous,» said Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. «Therefore, we have a long road ahead of us and must do better, and faster,» he added. Several of the investigations resulted from some 885 complaints by citizens, over a third of which concerned municipalities and almost a quarter dealt with prefectures. Over a third of the probes launched by the Public Administration Inspectors’ Agency were focused on how construction licenses were handed out; they recommended that the process for gaining town-planning approval be revised. Nearly a quarter of the investigations examined the handing out of tenders. They also discovered that first-instance courts in Larissa and Volos were not keeping proper accounts books to record payments from defendants buying out their sentences.