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The state administration is spending freely despite the crisis

07 February 2013 / 19:02:59  GRReporter
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2010 was the year in which Greece had just started to feel the serious implications of the debt crisis. The government of the time began talking about changes, reduction of government spending and balancing the budget, and imposed the first severe economic measures.

Three years later, it is clear that the instances of wasting public money indiscriminately, the excessive spending and the lawlessness are still dominating in the public administration.

According to the report of the chamber of accounts, which the chairman of the financial court submitted to the head of parliament Evangelos Meimarakis, the judges were able to stop the illegal spending of 146.5 million euro in 2010 alone and to simultaneously block the illegal withdrawal of another 13.5 million euro. Furthermore, mayors and government officials are to be held accountable for various expenses.

The winners in the bad statistics are the municipalities again. The violations are practices painfully familiar from the recent past, namely direct government procurement, illegal appointments of employees with temporary contracts, payment of illegal remuneration, allowances, benefits, transportation costs, excessive costs of holidays, funerals, gifts, public relationships, purchases of mobile phones, and even cigars!

The supreme financial court defines as very low the performance of tax services due to their failure to collect tax revenues. Furthermore, the cuts in salaries and benefits imposed by the first Memorandum in many services were simply not taken into account.

Half of the report is "dedicated" to the local administration. Numerous cases of illegal purchases of medicines and sanitary materials had been found in hospitals, which were later "legalized" with the excuse that they were needed urgently.

In many cases, activities that could have been performed by the relevant municipal services without additional costs had been outsourced. Similarly, cases that could have been solved by legal advisers to government services had been assigned to external lawyers.

The technical chamber in the country spent 23,100 euro for the New Year celebrations. Two municipalities in the Attica region spent 16,800 euro to award students. Another municipality in central Greece paid 15,000 euro for the publication of a book on urban planning development of a region with a circulation of 1,240 copies. Elsewhere, local government representatives approved funding of 12,000 euro for a piece of research on pensioners’ interests. A municipality on one of the islands paid 45,000 euro for a film about the beautiful sights of the region. An insurance fund spent 33,600 euro for Christmas celebrations for children.

Some of the costs the judges of the chamber of accounts blocked are more than challenging:

- Three municipalities in northern Greece requested an approval to purchase 4x4 SUVs on account of their technical services, even though the law does not provide for such costs. The costs the local government representatives estimated for this purpose amounted to 79,700 euro.

- The magistrates refused to sign a budget of 4,500 euro for a contract for the portraits of the departed Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Piraeus municipality.

- Another municipality requested 3,900 euro as compensation for the leave due to 12 employees. It turned out that they had actually used their leave. The amount also included overtime compensation for an already retired employee.

- Compensation for taking minutes in a month in which no meetings of the municipal council were held.

- Costs of the funeral of a former mayor of Glyfada to the amount of 36,700 euro. Costs of the funeral of a chairman of a local council in northern Greece amounting to 5,400 euro although not provided for by law.

Particularly striking are the requests of approval of costs of petrol by an island municipality where there are no vehicles with petrol engines, costs to the amount of 36,800 euro for mobile phone services used by senior officials in the Ministry of Tourism, whose duties are not quite clear and appointments of relatives of municipal deputies.

Tags: MunicipalitiesPublic administrationIllegal costsCorruption
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