OPINION

Defense contracts

“Whatever evidence the judicial authorities need, they will get,» Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos told the Inner Cabinet during a debate on the concerns and priorities of his ministry. While this may strike one as a self-evident assertion, it is also a very promising one. Let’s hope that a current investigation will get to the bottom of a sensitive issue, of equal importance to our defense industry and to the state coffers. Whiffs of scandal (if only they were just whiffs), the shameless waste of taxpayers’ money and charges regarding the serving of illicit interests have dogged the Defense Ministry’s procurements for the past few years. And, as if the original cost of these procurements was not high enough, they became even more expensive due to kickbacks, lack of transparency in procedures and excessively high cost accounting. Unfortunately, the scandals and illegalities which have been made public over the past few years are anything but isolated incidents. Indeed, the widespread view among citizens is that certain ministry officials have «mismanaged» procurement contracts, with highly lucrative results. In the wake of all these charges of alleged corruption and entangled interests, the refrain of previous governments has always been the same: «Let whoever has the evidence take it to a prosecutor.»