No crisis can heal Greek public officials from corruption: president of children’s hospital arrested

Posted by in Politics

“God and justice” cannot save many people in a country where corruption keeps on infecting public officials. On Christmas Eve the president of Aglaia Kyriakou children’s hospital in Athens was arrested by police on suspicion of accepting bribe. “What suspicion?” one would wonder. Haris Tombouloglou was found to be in possession of marked banknotes given to him by an advertisement company managers in the context of a ‘bribe’ deal. Juicy 25,000 euro.

The company had allegedly pay him the money in order to win a tender to run a program to combat children obesity. The program was funded by the European Union.

According to Greek media, the hospital president had asked the money from the advertisement company, following the traditional practice that public officials grant a part of the money program either for the political party they belong to or for their own pockets. The program over overcharged anyway.

Tombouloglou was appointed to Aglaia Kyriakou hospital in 2011, when Andreas Loverdos (ex PASOK) was Health Minister.

Until his arrest Haris Tombouloglou was member of conservative ruling party Nea Dimocratia nad had stand as elections candidate for the party several times. He was expelled from the party in express procedures. With order of CEO, he was also dismissed from National Bank of Greece to which he was employee. He is no longer president of the hospital.

“Speaking to journalists, Haris Tombouloglou denied the accusations that he solicited an under-the-table payment from a company hoping to win a tender to run a program to combat childhood obesity.

“I believe in God and justice,” he said. “This is a set-up. The money I took was a gift for the hospital. The company was afraid that it would be excluded from the tender.” (ekathimerini)

He faces charges on  attempted extortion, a felony, and passive bribery.

BTW: I hope, he was not receiving also a salary from the NBG.

PS Instead of launching programs to combat obesity, they should better launch programs to combat obesity in officials’ pockets, read bribery.