Bill aims at graft in public services

A new draft law aims to curb corruption at tax offices and town-planning offices, believed to be the most mismanaged of all public service offices in Greece. The bill, due to be submitted in Parliament today by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, foresees increased powers for the ministry’s General Inspectorate for Public Administration. These powers would grant the inspectorate access to the pothen esches (or declaration of assets) statements of chiefs of ministry departments and town-planning offices as well as staff further down the hierarchy. The ministry hopes that these powers, combined with lifting the confidentiality of bank accounts and personal tax details, will root out corruption in these offices as well as discourage future violations. The bill also foresees the establishment within the general inspectorate of a special unit, as well as extra funding and staff, to facilitate the examination of hundreds of thousands of pothen esches statements. The statements of some 700 department chiefs are to be scrutinized particularly closely. Another provision extends the powers of the inspectorate to take disciplinary action against employees who delay in responding to queries about disciplinary suits. The bill also proposes creating a regional inspectorate in Rethymnon, Crete, and boosting the number of special inspectors nationwide to nine.

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