While Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, like his predecessors, has vowed to crack down on corruption, the problem is getting worse in the police department and among civil servants during the country’s crushing economic crisis, a Greek Police special task force reported on April 2.
The report said bribery and wrongdoing are out of control and rising rapidly among the police and public workers, especially in health care services where doctors still demand an under-the-table fee for work for which they are also paid by the state and as many of them evade taxes at the same time.
The data collected by the anti-corruption force showed that in 2012 it investigated a total of 1,060 cases, or 263 more than it did in 2011, marking a 33 percent increase. Of these, 710 (or 66.9 percent) concerned police officers, 260 concerned employees of the broader public sector and 67 were cases brought against individuals, the newspaper Kathimerini reported.
In the public sector, complaints of corruption by citizens nearly doubled, jumping 94.6 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, with the majority of the 535 complaints processed concerning employees at local authorities (152) and regional authorities (63.) The report also noted that 20 police officers were arrested in 2012 on charges ranging from physical abuse of a prisoner to theft and embezzlement.
Meanwhile, of the country’s total of 53,980 police officers and border guards in 2012, 876 failed to submit a declaration of provenance of wealth (“pothen esches”), with criminal charges brought against 116 officers who failed to adequately explain the source of their assets. The Athens office of the NGO Transparency International has reported similar findings.