Watchdog sees lit­tle po­lit­i­cal will to tackle graft

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

While mus­ing on his 11-year ca­reer as the man charged with tack­ling cor­rup­tion in the Greek civil ser­vice, gen­eral in­spec­tor of public ad­min­is­tra­tion Le­an­dros Rak­intzis iden­ti­fied the lack of po­lit­i­cal will as the key weak­ness in com­bat­ing graft.

Speak­ing dur­ing a dis­cus­sion at the Ianos book store in cen­tral Athens on Wed­nes­day night, Rak­intzis said gov­ern­ments have to show greater de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­duce cor­rup­tion. “All the gov­ern­ments pro­claim they want to stamp out cor­rup­tion and do ‘what­ever it takes,’ but I have yet to see any­one do this,” he said.

Rak­intzis also said that prac­ti­cal steps, such as cod­i­fy­ing Greece’s labyrinthine leg­is­la­tion, would help. He noted that since the mod­ern Greek state was founded, it had passed 17,500 laws and is­sued 120,000 cir­cu­lars.

The of­fi­cial put the an­nual cost of cor­rup­tion in Greece at 33 bil­lion eu­ros and joked that if it was stamped out, the coun­try could erase its public debt in a decade.

Rak­intzis men­tioned a few of the tragi­comic in­stances of bla­tant graft that he has en­coun­tered dur­ing his ten­ure, such as the case of a 93-year-old be­ing ap­pointed le­gal ad­viser to a so­cial se­cu­rity foun­da­tion or that of a mayor re­ceiv­ing 10 mil­lion eu­ros in Euro­pean fund­ing for his mu­nic­i­pal­ity and de­posit­ing the same amount in a Swiss ac­count in his own name. He said that the ma­jor­ity of vi­o­la­tions have been found in zon­ing, mu­nic­i­pal and healthcare author­i­ties.

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