NEWS

Watchdog points to corrupt officials

Greece’s public administration watchdog yesterday drew attention to a slew of cases of alleged mismanagement, dereliction of duty and other offenses in the public sector in the sixth annual report of its kind. The findings in the report by Leandros Rakintzis, which were made public yesterday, were based on 4,440 checks carried out by state inspectors last year on the declarations of source of wealth («pothen esches») forms submitted by officials in central and local government. These inspections resulted in a total of 909 officials being indicted to appear before a prosecutor on a range of charges. Rakintzis’s report highlighted some of the most blatant cases of alleged corruption. One involves the vice president of an association of Culture Ministry employees, now retired. He is reported to have had in his bank account 9 million euros that he was unable to justify according to his income. Another case relates to a department head at the Health Ministry who is alleged to have sat on 19 different committees, all paid positions. Rakintzis noted that such committee positions should not be subject to remuneration anyway. A third case involves a state hospital doctor who reportedly took with him the files of 440 patients when he left his position to set up his own private practice. The watchdog also drew attention to municipal authorities, many of which, he said, had borrowed huge sums and had subsequently been unable to service their debts. He said loans should henceforth not be granted to local authorities that cannot prove their ability to meet debt requirements. Commenting on his findings, Rakintzis said the problem was one of attitude. «We must change our outlook and respect our institutions,» he said.