PM backs further Siemens scrutiny

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledged yesterday to hold an all-party parliamentary investigation into the Siemens bribery scandal once the legal probe has finished. PASOK has been pushing for a committee to look into the affair and the issue was at the heart of a parliamentary debate yesterday as the two main parties clashed over corruption in political life. Karamanlis warned that the judicial system should not be undermined by demands from MPs for a probe. «We have complete faith in the justice system,» he said. «The truth will out and responsibility will be attributed without any compromise.» The premier appealed to all political parties for unity to combat corruption and suggested that PASOK’s eagerness for a parliamentary probe was «suspicious.» «The people who have made bribery something that is part of daily life cannot now present themselves as the honorable ones,» he told the Socialist MPs. But Papandreou pressed Karamanlis about whether any members of his party are involved in the Siemens scandal. «Can you confirm and guarantee here and now, in Parliament, that none of your current ministers have any part in this affair?» Papandreou asked. The Socialist leader said that anyone from within his party’s ranks that is found to be corrupt would «pay the price.» A former PASOK cadre, Theodoros Tsoukatos, is due to submit a deposition today to prosecutor Panayiotis Athanassiou after admitting that he accepted more than 400,000 euros in cash from Siemens in 1999. Tsoukatos said that the money went into PASOK’s election campaign fund.