Greece’s public officials had apparently turned the kickbacks collection into a “science”, while an unofficial but institutionalize price list could cut a nice portion from the total pie for private pockets. Under the hand. Illegally. Tax-free. The bribes percentage was something between 2% and shocking 23% depending on the sector that was involved into generously distributing public contracts and asking for supplies from submarines to pacemakers.
an average of 4% would be given for armament contracts and weapons supplies
a 2% to 2.5% was foreseen for contracts of every kind of goods and services.
Top of the top were contracts for medical and pharmaceutical supplies for public hospitals and other institutions: the bribe was a juicy 23%.
A party of several billion euros on the cost of public money and the country’s honest taxpayers.
The Minister against Corruption, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, made these revelations on Sunday at the Greek Parliament and refereed to the time period between the years 2000 and 2010.
Nikoloudis said among others:
“There can be no doubt that one of the main – if not the main reason – for the country to end up in economic crisis is the corruption which appeared as endemic in all procurement contracts, mainly in the first decade of the new century, from 2000 to 2010, in contracts signed with companies that were primarily abroad.”
Nikoloudis said further that there must be differentiation concerning the corruption and that if citizens are corrupted, “if half of the citizens corrupt the other half, then “in a sense the country has to pay for its own weakness.”
“However” he added “corruption is like tango, it takes two. There can not be someone who takes money if there is not someone else willing to offer the illegal money.”
Nikoloudis’ revelations are not new to the Greeks, maybe the percentage per sector is something new.
Long before former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was locked in in prison for bribes, almost everybody was convinced that ministers and public officials were corrupt and that they were pocketing money for every signature they would put under a contract.
But there was no evidence, just rumors. And not one was ever held responsible. Corruption was institutionalized. and it was even accepted by several groups of the society. It was the obvious and it was tolerated as private citizens/businessmen could benefit as well by giving a x% bribe to grant a state contract. The slogan was “no bribe, no contract’. Insiders could secure one contract after the other, outsiders were wondering why they didn’t despite making an attractive offer.
I remember an incident with workers of a public company who had come to fix something in our building just a couple of years ago. ago.
We were chatting about the press reports that part of the company was to be privatized and I asked them why the sale was delayed. “Because they cannot agree on the ministers’ provision,” they said. “Oh, the minister gets a commission?” I asked adding that this was “illegal.” The three guys looked at me as if I came from Mars and assured me that it was “perfectly legal.” The guys were unionists.
I don’t remember if the sale occurred, and it doesn’t matter, after all. No proof, just hear-saying.
There have been dozens of stories in the last 25 years rumoring around about ministers who got rich, built villas, bought yachts and enjoyed a lavish life while they had to live on the monthly salary by the Parliament. But as I said: the claims were never officially proven, there were just rumors.
And now that the new Greek government seems to know more on public servants’ corruption… what? Will they be investigated and brought to justice?
Or we will keep making just statements and complain about “how bad the ex guys and girls were”?