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Do not close your eyes to corruption

25 September 2013 / 18:09:09  GRReporter
2485 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

 ...wake up and report on the cases which you have witnessed. This is the call of the international organization Transparency International. Its Greek branch has launched the campaign "Time to wake up", which aims at motivating the Greeks to engage themselves in the fight against corruption instead of only commenting on the cases among themselves.

From now on they will be able to call the five-digit phone number 90 101 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or post on the websites transparency.gr and diafaneiatora.gr information on corruption cases, whether they are victims of such cases or are merely aware of them. The data will then be handled by the newly established centre for receiving complaints.

"The data will be accepted by volunteer lawyers who will assess whether the case described is actually a case of corruption. One of their competences is to advise the callers as to which instance they should turn to in order to receive an effective response to their complaint. Our organization does not seek to represent anyone in court but, after the processing of data, it will put pressure on the responsible authorities to solve the problem in each case," said the legal adviser of Transparency International, Vasilis Sotiropoulous.

Within the context of the pilot programme, the organization had received a complaint from a government employee who provided information about a corruption case of illegal payment of pensions. Although the law provides that, in such cases, the employee should be protected by being transferred to another institution, the competent Ministry of Environment has failed to fulfil this obligation. Transparency International has referred the matter to the Ministry and is monitoring the progress of the case.

The prime concern of Transparency International is to protect those people who give information about cases of corruption, (the so-called whistleblowers). According to the chairman of the organization, Costas Bakouris, the list of best practices from other countries that the organization has submitted to the Greek government will soon be included in a law. For the moment, the advice to those wishing to file a complaint is, while speaking on the phone, to avoid:

- mentioning the names of persons and services

- calling from their home or office phone

- telling other people that they have filed a complaint before having secured legal protection from a lawyer or other trusted persons

- keeping files of their communication with Transparency International in the memory of their personal computer

"We decided to open this centre because the experience of the 20 countries where it operates is very encouraging. Moreover, according to one of our recent studies, 84% of Greeks would report on cases of corruption," said Costas Bakouris.

This Saturday, Transparency International will organize outdoor events to inform the public about the establishment of the centre for complaints. The events will start at 12 noon in Korai Square in central Athens and will include musical performances by Brazilian percussion group Quilombo, stand-up comedy performed by actor Seraphim Silas and a bicycle procession. Graffiti artist street artist b. will paint in the neighbourhood of Kerameikos a symbolic picture showing our daily life without corruption.

The volunteers’ white whistles will "raise consciousness" because it really is "time to wake up".

Tags: SocietyCorruptionCampaignTransparency International
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