Scam involving phantom staff

Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis revealed this week that 22 «phantom» staff members have been receiving wages in recent years from the Western Greece Regional Health Department, from which a senior member of staff has embezzled over 500,000 euros. The case reveals the lack of records or checks on personnel in the National Health System (ESY). During an audit of ESY’s Western Greece department, investigators discovered that a financial director allegedly sent claims to the social services central computer for wages for staff members who either did not exist or had long left the department, or else received two wages under separate registration numbers for separate jobs. The director sent data (father’s name and identity card number) that did not correspond to those for any actual person, but opened bank accounts for the deposition of wages under completely different names. The banks have been asked to waive confidentiality regarding these accounts. The report on the investigation of this particular case is expected to be issued within the next week, while the evidence has already gone to the courts. Failure to provide precise staff records in the ESY has made crimes of this kind very easy, according to the ministry’s general secretary, Paschalis Bouhoris. He said that when the new ministry leadership took over, documents at the ministry referred to about 48,000 staff members, apart from medical doctors. After repeated efforts to take a proper census, the total rose to 65,000, and this is expected to be updated. Strange as it may seem, there is no precise record of the number of hospital beds available in ESY. According to Bouhoris, there have been serious discrepancies during counts made so far. This could be because the wages and grants of clinic directors are directly dependent on the number of beds, while a specific number of beds is required to set up a new clinic in a hospital.

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