ATHENS – The Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency in Parliament convened on Monday to hear former infrastructure and transport minister Kostas Karamanlis’ positions on the tragic rail accident at Tempi, the state of Greek railways when he took over as minister four years ago, and the actions taken during that time.
The hearing was attended by his predecessors in the post over the past decade, Michalis Chrysochoidis and Christos Spirtzis, as well as his successor, the current Minister of State for transport and infrastructure issues, Giorgos Gerapetritis. They were asked to provide their own account of events regarding the implementation of contract 717 for the installation of a railway telemanagement and signaling system.
Karamanlis to MPs: Inaccuracies and lies that obscured the facts
Former Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis addressed Parliament’s Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency on Monday, highlighting five safeguards that would have prevented the train accident in Tempi. He also criticized the “inaccuracies and lies” that obscured the facts and dismissed the claim that there was no telemanagement system at the Larissa station as “absolutely false.”
Karamanlis submitted documents showing that the contract for the telemanagement and signalling system (717) had been only 18% complete when he assumed office and had progressed to 70% by the end of his term. He lamented that it was not yet completed to 100%.
Spirtzis to MPs: Contract 717 was ‘exceedingly defective and bad’
During his appearance before Parliament’s Special Permanent Committee on Institutions and Transparency on Monday, opposition MP Christos Spirtzis discussed the state of the rail network during his tenure as transport minister and the “personalized responsibilities that led to the decline of the rail network.” He described contract 717 for the refurbishment and overhaul of the network’s telemanagement and signalling system as extremely flawed and incompatible with new technology, necessitating the signing of an additional contract.
He claimed that SYRIZA had handed over a fully installed GSMR system that only needed certification to operate. Without the additional contract, the system would not function and would simply be a waste of money, he argued. Spirtzis submitted all relevant documents related to the contract and urged the committee to summon ERGOSE management to speak truthfully and with facts about the Tempi accident.