Speedier justice for graft cases

Judicial investigations into cases of corruption in the public sector will be accelerated under a new bill to be tabled later this year, the government promised yesterday as it presented a report by the Public Administration Inspectorate. According to Interior and Public Administration Minister Costas Skandalidis, judicial investigations into suspected corruption will take a maximum of nine months, and will be given priority over other cases. Skandalidis said the Public Administration Inspectorate would become responsible for scrutinizing civil servants’ funds source (pothen esches) declarations. According to the inspectorate’s report for 2001, which was made public yesterday, a random probe into the pothen esches reports on 2,500 civil servants revealed at least 227 cases of inexplicably high assets. Furthermore, the inspectorate carried out 82 investigations regarding corruption in public administration, and in almost a third of all cases discovered indications of improper behaviour. Twelve cases merited disciplinary action, while seven resulted in court cases.