OPINION

Graft allegations warrant probe

The government’s decision to force the head of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece’s dominant energy provider, to resign was no doubt a legitimate move. Picking the managers of public utilities, or DEKOs, is the government’s business. So is their removal or replacement. Any political criticism must be based on managers’ performance – not names. That said, the departure of Yiannis Paleokrassas falls short of doing away with the corruption allegations he made in his interview with Kathimerini’s Sunday edition. We do not believe that ministers are involved in the PPC management. Nevertheless, it’s clear that specific interests are making backstage attempts to squander the wealth of public corporations. Paleokrassas hinted at the existence of these interests. The authorities must investigate the charges. All the big DEKOs, including PPC and OTE telecom, have signed mammoth investment and procurement contracts. At stake is both the protection of public money as well as the competitiveness and progress of state corporations. However, it’s an open secret that groups of private, albeit state-dependent, interests have their eyes fixed on these programs – and respect for the law and code of ethics is not always among their top priorities. The country must safeguard public corporations against such non-transparent bids. As long as this does not happen, sacking a chairman will do little to clean up the system. Without doubt, Paleokrassas’s allegations warrant an investigation. The political establishment cannot afford to turn a blind eye. It is the duty of the government, and of all political parties, to guarantee equality and transparency in the assignment of public investment and procurement programs. We must finally put an end to the rings of national contractors and costly or inappropriate public works projects. But such restructuring is impossible without investigating the non-transparent processes, the roots of evil and the moral instigators behind the absurd state decisions. The government had every right to replace Paleokrassas. But it also has an obligation to shed light on his charges.