Cabinet dismisses revenues chief
Savvaidou forced out as draft bill said to increase rather than reduce oversight
The government yesterday dismissed the head of the General Secretariat for Public Revenues, Katerina Savvaidou, citing misdemeanor charges that have been brought against her, in a move that raised questions about the authorities’ commitment to the body’s independence.
The decision to dismiss Savvaidou, who last week was charged with breach of duty for granting television stations more time to hand over taxes on advertising revenue, was announced by government spokeswoman, Olga Gerovasili, after a cabinet meeting. Gerovasili said the cabinet members decided “unanimously” to dismiss Savvaidou. “In such difficult times for Greek society... it is not acceptable for a public official to operate against the public interest,” Gerovasili said, suggesting that Savvaidou had “favored” certain companies by granting them addi- tional time to pay their dues.
A European official told Kathimerini that the move “creates concern that the depoliticization of the public administration is not progressing as it should be and that goes against what was agreed in the summer.”
The official was referring to a provision of Greece’s bailout stipulating that authorities should increase the autonomy of the revenues authority.
Kathimerini understands, however, that authorities plan to do the opposite. According to legislation that is currently being drafted, a new body is to be set up, called the Greek Authority for Public Revenues, and is to be supervised by both Tsakalotos and by a nine-member council. The finance minister is to be informed of all the decisions as well as the general direction of the authority’s planning.