Greece public sector parties with public money, despite crisis and austerity

Posted by in Economy, Politics

It must be on corruption- DNA or on deep rooted “I don’t give a dam”- mentality: that public money is here to be spent as if no tomorrow. The annual report 2010 by the State Audit Council published on Thursday shows incredible and widespread wasteful spending of public money and  by the notorious Greek public sector. A total of 148 million euros in illegal spending. And thus, when the country had sought the IMF bailout mechanism, when the first wave of austerity had hit millions of households and the average Greek started to get on his knees under the sharp cuts of his income and the increase of taxes.

Decorated with concrete examples the report states among others:

  • the most expensive New Year cake was baked for 23,000 euro for a provincial technical college.
  • that a municipality spent 8,500 euro to transport workers form he province to Athens and have them protest the reform law of local governments.
  • Development ministry spent 5,500 euro to buy cigars [apparently locally produced cigars that were distributed for promotion purposes).
  • Retired municipality worker was receiving payments for … ‘overtime work’
  • Three municipality majors in Northern Greece attempted to buy jeeps 4×4 for a total coast of 79,700 euro.

1,180 pages show that the state machine kept functioning with the same logic and same old mentality spending money without transparency, awarding projects directly and without procurement, illegally hiring contractors and special advisers, making illegal remuneration and spent lavishly for festivals*, events, advertising, gifts, even funerals of former majors. Not to mention the generous distribution of mobile phones…

On Thursday morning I saw a man (local politician? MP?) speaking on the issue on private Skai TV, saying that ‘often public money is being relocated from one section to another when decisions or procedures take too long.”

According to this saying its very possible that 1,000 euro was paid for the new year cake but the rest went to some workers bonus, or whatever other ‘legal’ or illegal payments.

“In the majority of these cases there were no prosecutions. Only officials responsible for 13.5 million euros’ worth of these illegal payments were indicted to appear before a prosecutor, according to the report, while it remained unclear whether any of them were tried and convicted.”(ekathimerini)

More than half of the report covers the activities of local authorities, while it also refers to many non-legitimate hospital supplies with medicines, sanitary material etc. However, these were later “retrospectively legalized” invoking emergency needs.

In many cases works were assigned to private companies, while they could be very well done by state agencies without cost. Cases were also assigned to outside counselor, while they could be handled by legal advisers of state institutions.

other sources: ethnos.gr, skai.gr

PS I am curious to see the report findings for 2011. If the waste of public money continued. Most possible it did… It’s not their own money, it’s mine…