NEWS

Simitis’s teaching salary astray

Prime Minister Costas Simitis recently found, to his amazement, that money from his salary as a tenured professor at Panteion University has been diverted from its designated purpose, which was to finance university operations. Government spokesman Christos Protopappas yesterday confirmed that Simitis’s salary had been diverted from its purpose by unnamed university «employees» – whether academics or clerical stuff, it is not known yet – and that action was being taken against them. «The prime minister had given orders that his salary… go toward activities beneficiary to the (university community), such as the Panteion library etc. There was a problem in the management of these amounts, and others donated for similar purposes, by employees. Charges have been filed against employees,» Protopappas told reporters yesterday. Simitis was a professor of commercial law at Panteion since 1976. In 1981, when he joined the first Socialist government as agriculture minister, Simitis had requested that his salary go toward financing Panteion operations. Simitis resumed his teaching at Panteion when he resigned as national economy minister in November 1987. In October 1993 he again became minister and, in January 1996, prime minister. In October 1997 his professorial duties were suspended, and he resigned the post in November 2000. The salary Simitis decided to forgo in favor of the university from 1981 to 1987 and from 1993 to 1997 amounted to 25,680,000 drachmas. A recent auditing at Panteion revealed that the sum was never used for the purposes it was intended to. According to daily Ethnos, which first broke the story, Simitis was furious and instigated legal proceedings against Panteion. It is not the first time that Panteion personnel has been accused of diverting funds. Yesterday, Education Minister Pëtros Efthymiou met Panteion Rector Ioannis Vavouras about the missing funds. «The prime minister donated his salary… for very specific purposes of public benefit and this must be respected,» Efthymiou said.