OPINION

National betrayal

Even the least informed citizens in this country have automatically linked the words «construction projects» and «public procurement commissions» with «kickbacks» for the past few decades. And, unfortunately, there is quite a lot of evidence that leads to this association of ideas. Indeed, the greedy profiteers who dominate the illicit kickbacks sector have long become insolent and no longer make any real effort to conceal their activities from Greek society. But the time has come to highlight a critical aspect of this problem that the public has yet to grasp. The true size and scope of this crisis that has been afflicting our country for far too long will never be revealed as long as our interest remains exclusively focused on the size of the kickback for one particular public procurement project or other. The real scourge, the major national problem, has developed due to two consistent practices which give rise to kickbacks large enough to attract interest; the first of these practices is the overinflation of the budget for any one particular project, and the second is the creation – by those with entangled interests – of an artificial need for public projects. As a result of these practices, Greek taxpayers are becoming increasingly burdened with sums significantly larger than any individual kickback. The problem constitutes a large, gaping wound for the country. Our national wealth is being plundered by those seeking kickbacks even in the sensitive defense procurement sector. And it is clear today that the mechanisms that produce such large kickbacks are directly responsible for the fact that Greece is lagging in the critical procurement sector following the purchase of arms incompatible with the country’s defense needs. In view of the above, the political leadership is obliged to strike at the heart of the problem by scrutinizing the size and expediency of all procurement projects in detail. The squandering of state funds through kickbacks constitutes nothing less than national betrayal.