A well-oiled system

A truly impressive company called Themis Construction succeeded in making a small proportion of our fellow countrymen extremely rich between 1996 and 2004, it was revealed last week. Basking in the warm tolerance of singularly «Socialist» political circles, these deft and dynamic individuals managed to set up a network of entangled interests that yielded them extremely high returns. It appears that Themis Construction constitutes a perfect example of a well-oiled system of economic mismanagement under state «protection» of the highest level. Indeed, the case in question is more than just another scandal in Greek public life. The company amalgamates all the illegalities, irregularities and arbitrariness that the Greek state is capable of producing (all paid for by the taxpayer, of course). Themis Construction, which was founded in 1996, had been destined to operate for the public interest under the supervision of the Justice Ministry. The official goals of the firm: the study, construction, extension, repair, maintenance, furnishing and organization of court buildings and correctional facilities – once these projects have been assigned to the firm at the discretion of the Justice Ministry. Public administration inspectors determined that Themis operated from 1997 with no respect whatsoever for transparency or the law, received 420 millions euros in funding, systematically abused its option to increase project budgets by 50 percent and failed to proclaim tenders for projects, claiming the «extreme urgency» of completion. There were several instances of the firm’s directors giving verbal payment orders, of projects being carried out without the required construction licenses and other necessary documentation, of Justice Ministry projects being divided up into smaller jobs, and many other such irregularities. It is unlikely that any other such «parties» have been conducted under the supervision of a government ministry in the past few decades. Just by skimming the inspectors’ 20-page report on the firm’s activities, one can deduce that at least half of the 420 million euros in funding it received from the state was apparently frittered away in kickbacks. In any case, the forthcoming legal investigation will undoubtedly shed more light on Themis’s various activities. What is most remarkable about the whole affair is that a state-backed firm can operate entirely illegally and is not merely tolerated but even enjoys a peculiar political guarantee for its activities… And there seems to be no indication that things might change for the better in the near future…

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.