Corruption is Alive and Well in Greece Only the Cloak Has Changed



ts2In just two days, the Alexis Tsipras government made two shows of semi-authoritarianism that don’t fit with their loud declarations of fairness, social justice, battle against corruption and clientelism.

The arbitrary dismissal of the general secretary for public revenue Katerina Savvaidou put a big hole in the armor of ethics the current Greek government is claiming to have. The chief tax collector was fired because of allegations of extending VAT payment deadlines on television ads. To her defense, Savvaidou said that she did so in order to ease the burden on many businesses that have to pay tax on television advertising. These businesses, she said, employ thousands of people and thousands of families are dependent on them.

At the same time, Savvaidou said the same people who accused her of favoritism and fired her, asked her to extend the deadlines on the new steep VAT imposed on private education.

The superior tax collector is an independent authority and the state intervention on its work does not belong to a true democratic state. Especially when Greece is obligated by the bailout program to have its tax collection system in line.

Savvaidou noted that the announcement issued by government spokesperson Olga Gerovasili “preempted” court decisions and was thus a clear and direct intervention in both the independence of the general secretariat for public revenues and independent justice. The government was in such a rush, she added, that the cabinet’s decision was taken before a decision for her indictment for breach of duty had been finalised by the courts.

Her complaints were to no avail though. The new government has an effective method of demonizing anyone opposed by calling them servants of the previous corrupt governments. As simple as that; no arguments, no debate, no deliberation.

The previous conservative New Democracy-PASOK coalition made the same mistake in firing Haris Theocharis from the same post in June 2014. That action was criticized by Greece’s creditors at the time. And so was the firing of Savvaidou on Thursday. That robs the opposition of an argument against the authoritarian practices of the Tsipras government.

Another sign that the new government wants to manipulate independent control mechanisms is the super powers granted to State Minister Nikos Pappas who is the one who decides how many television licenses will be issued. There is also an independent authority that decides on such issues, the Greek National Council for Radio and Television, but the leftist government circumvents that with a legislative act. Now the field is clear for creating new client relations.

It is obvious that the Alexis Tsipras government ultimately wants to put partisan people in key positions under the pretense of fighting corruption. All these authoritarian tendencies have already started looking suspicious to European partners. Surprisingly, Greek people do not show any signs of reaction to such nefarious policies.

At the same time, Tsipras is trying to sweep under the carpet two cases of corruption among two key cabinet members. One who has hidden income of 1 million euros from the parliamentary committee on lawmakers’ transparency and another who is major share holder in a construction company that takes state contracts, something that is illegal. It just happens that the latter is Tsipras’ political mentor, so all his sins are absolved.

Corruption is alive and well in Greece. Only the cloak has changed.

 

 


23 COMMENTS

  1. Same old tainted story, different political personalities. When will they ever learn…………

  2. The “right tard” is a lot smarter than Alexi’s left tards. Her alleged wrongdoings do not even come close to what more than a handful (thus far) of SYRIZAs cabinet members have done. Tsipras is just as corrupt as many of his predecessors. The only difference is that he doesn’t wear a tie.

  3. Did anyone expect anything different? Tsipras only knows politics. He has never worked and has spent his entire life living off the contributions people have made to the party. He is treacherous (as Lafazanis, Varoufakis et al have found out), a mythomaniac capable of saying, with a straight face, that black is white. He will do anything to consolidate his grip on power. Totally unprincipled. A consummate politician? Unfortunately, things will have to get a lot worse before Greeks see through him.

  4. Hey Philip…. your article is full of lies that leave the reader thinking Greece is back in the Junta Days ! She was NOT “arbitrarily dismissed” as you so stupidly put it; she was kicked out because of BREACH OF DUTY ! And this starged because the Greek Court Prosecutor brought for charges and any public official is liable to be kicked out of a publicly-held office if the Greek Government deems it to be bringing DISREPUTE to the office of her Ministry. You think that Nea Dimokratia or PASOK would not have done the same thing ? But I guess it serves your purposes to misrepresent what is really go8ng on.

  5. Corruption will never end in Greece. It is live and kicking and will be always live and kicking. Corrupt Greek politicians are the best to cover their tracks, they have the ways and the means to do so.

  6. cool story but the author is missinformed and spreads nonsense, while syriza isnt clean its the right that did most of the damage by joining the socialists in corruption.

  7. if you expect a system filled with corruption to stop being corrupt you are doing it wrong, you need to remove EVERYONE.

  8. The big problem in Greece is the lack of a culture that respects the rule of law.
    The other problem is that in almost 200 years, no Government has thought of laying down foundations for the countries future, on how the country needs to be ruled. No Greek father or Mother loves their children enough to ensure that they inherit a viable state.
    It’s bizarre the present party holding Government, has members who thought more than half of the Greek State boundaries should be given over to other communist Balkan states. They did not care about the fact that the most Greek part of the country was in the north, as opposed to the south of Greece made up Croatians transferred by the Ottomans from the western borders to Crete and Peloponnesus. People are still alive who remember relatives in the south who spoke only a Slav language. It’s amazing after a long time Croatian songs and music is still sung in Crete, with Greek words.
    Greeks have very little to fight about accept about their common stupidity.
    Even the Chinese communists have woken up and seen the only problem that is not acceptable is poverty, hunger and no hope to escape either.
    If Tsipras and his friends really cared for Greece and its people they could easily start job growth. A country that still has the attitude that someone who bakes bread to feed the hungry, must be thieving capitalist or have some bad intentions, is going nowhere.
    Another generation of Greek refugees that went north and beat the Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis to the menial jobs of Northern Europe must be cursing every bastard in Greece who opposes job growth and dignity for its young. The tears of Greek youth far away from home do not concern anyone in Greece. Such a vile heartless country and people have no reason to exist on the face of the earth.

  9. you don’t think its a little hypocritical to campaign on a anti corruption platform and then have a scandal less than 1 year in? i think removing left tards that continuously lie is a much better proposition (promise end to austerity then change their minds, lie about getting rid of corruption), i see no difference between them and the junta, imo left tards are the new nazzis

  10. Either the author doesn’t know the whole stories or he hides on purpose crucial parts of them which show that the whole system that existed before is doing whatever possible to keep existing.

  11. Either the author doesn’t know the whole stories or he hides on purpose crucial parts of them which show that the whole system that existed before is doing whatever possible to keep existing.

  12. There’s no indication in my comments that I am an American nor a Republican. You are quick to assume and too quick to defend. You may want to re-read my remarks carefully this time. I will further make clear that I would NEVER support ANY deceiving, pompous, and incompetent politician in the party of which I identify with, just because.

  13. “imo left tards are the new nazzis”

    For crying out loud man, look at this point anyone that harms the oligarchs is a good bet, which is why you see people like bernie sanders and corbyn getting higher in the scale.

    No i dont think this is hypocritical because there is no corruption, just missinformation spread by the media who are confirmed to be controlled by the oligarch, both you and the author hate the left you speak with bias.

    Leftards or not, they are not the ones who run this country to the ground the last 40 years with endless corruption.

    Do you got a better alternative? No? Then why vote for the people that FOR 6 YEARS have failed to do the reforms?

  14. The only reassuring thing written on this page is that fellow greeks seem to be aware of how corrupt our mentality is.

  15. “The arbitrary dismissal of the general secretary for public revenue Katerina Savvaidou put a big hole in the armor of ethics the current Greek government is claiming to have. The chief tax collector was fired because of allegations of extending VAT payment deadlines on television ads. To her defense, Savvaidou said that she did so in order to ease the burden on many businesses that have to pay tax on television advertising. These businesses, she said, employ thousands of people and thousands of families are dependent on them.”

    Savvaidou acted unilaterally ….she is the corrupt one. She is holding public office, she should act in accordance with her position not with her feelings. So leave your colors at home until you have proof of corruption by the politician(s) you question. …The author who wrote the piece,writes with extreme bias , so unless you have facts temper your accusations as well.

  16. Total nonsense, just slogans, there are studies that determine how corupt countries are (ICAP), we are at the bottom of the scale whereas Germany and the UK are at the other end. Have you ever had a family member in a a Greek hospital or discussed your income with a a tax official to experience how corrupt we are? How about when you buy flowers, does the merchant ask you whether you want to pay with or without VAT? And your lawyer, has he ever given you a receipt? These things are totally unheard of in Germany and the UK.

  17. Names? Three ministers (so far). Katrougalos, Stathakis, Flambouraris. Facts? Is there really any need for me to go into lengthy details? There’s no doubt in my mind you are well aware/informed of their morally suspicious (corruption) practices. Hardly any high ethical standards in the Tsipras house there. So, before Mr. (anything goes ) Tsipras starts pointing fingers at the opposition, maybe he should start cleaning house within his own organization. Certainly, looks more like “old” than “new”to me.