Call for probe into army pur­chases

Ex-min­is­ter sees cor­rup­tion in pro­cure­ment of equip­ment at over­in­flated prices

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Jus­tice Min­istry, Gior­gos Sourlas, has asked pros­e­cu­tors to in­ves­ti­gate armed forces pro­cure­ments over the past decade fol­low­ing indi­ca­tions that sup­plies have been pur­chased at hugely in­flated prices, it emerged over the weekend.

Ac­cord­ing to claims by Sourlas, a for­mer health min­is­ter, a py­rol­y­sis ma­chine ac­quired in 2002 for the coun­try’s armed forces was pur­chased at more than dou­ble its es­ti­mated value, sug­gest­ing that of­fi­cials ben­e­fited from the over­pric­ing.

The ma­chine – a vat which uses a com­bi­na­tion of fire and elec­tri­cal cur­rent to re­move worn rub­ber from tank tracks – was pur­chased for just over 6 mil­lion eu­ros, more than dou­ble the orig­i­nal es­ti­mated value of the tank, which was 2.8 mil­lion eu­ros, ac­cord­ing to Sourlas. Shortly af­ter its ac­qui­si­tion, the equip­ment was deemed to be in need of re­pair and another 858,317 eu­ros was dis­bursed for main­te­nance, Sourlas said.

The for­mer min­is­ter added that the me­di­a­tor for the firm which sup­plied the equip­ment was a for­mer armed forces of­fi­cer who used to over­see a tank pro- duc­tion fac­tory in Greece.

In a state­ment Sourlas called on au­thor­i­ties to in­ves­ti­gate the pro­cure­ment in ques­tion and trace “the un­eth­i­cal and the cor­rupt.”

A se­ries of pros­e­cu­tors’ in­ves­ti­ga­tions into state de­fense pro­cure­ments have re­vealed that of­fi­cials pock­eted mil­lions of eu­ros in kick­backs to se­cure deals for par­tic­u­lar firms.

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