SYRIZA-led Coalition Pushes Probe of Former Rival Health Ministers

Αssociated press

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, FILE)

ATHENS – Days after three principals in what the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition said was the biggest scandal in Greek history were acquitted of taking bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, a parliamentary committee controlled by the government is going after two former health ministers from rival parties.

The committee blamed Andreas Loverdos from the former PASOK Socialists and New Democracy's Adonis Georgiadis for mismanaging the bankrupt enry Dunant Hospital, – the one-time flagship facility of the Hellenic Red Cross in the country.

The majority of committee members came from SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, with the government continuing to say it's clean and rival parties are corrupt.

The committee report was blasted by the opposition parties as the lawmakers said they wanted a further investigation into the two former health ministers as well as two others, including current European Commission migration chief Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The report by the majority – which was roundly vilified by the political opposition – calls for a “further investigation” by judicial authorities into possible wrongdoing or omissions on the part of former ministers Andreas Loverdos and Adonis Georgiadis, both among the most prominent critics of the current Tsipras government.

Another two former health ministers, current EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Makis Voridis, from New Democracy as well as former Red Cross Greece President Andreas Martinis – who is already facing trial - were also cited for allegedly trying to cover up mismanagement and a privatization tender said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

The charges come as SYRIZA, ANEL and Tsipras are reeling in polls with surveys showing voters are waiting to punish them for breaking anti-austerity vows with New Democracy having double-digit leads.