ATHENS – A “plundering of public funds” with the seal of the prime minister has been taking place with respect to public contracts, main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader Alexis Tsipras asserted on Monday, following a meeting with the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority, an independent agency. He urged the other political parties to adopt a position on this issue.
“Today I visited the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority to express my deep concern over the fact that the government, since the start of the pandemic, has used it in order to proceed with a series of departures from the law as regards direct assignments and closed tenders,” he said.
“Throughout the preceding period, we are speaking of the excessive sum of five billion euros in the first 18 months. The four months that followed up until October increased the sum to nearly seven billion euros. Four billion in closed tenders and 2.7 billion in direct assignments. In fact, direct assignments for which the government had earlier made sure to pass legislation that increased the maximum limit from 20,000 to 60,000 and to remove all limits for assignments relating to the pandemic,” he added.
Tsipras went on to claim that this last facility was then summarily abused and only 320 million euros of the contracts approved this way were actually related to managing the pandemic, in what amounted to a “plundering of public funds” with the approval of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
“Who will now manage the billions from the Recovery Fund? The government that used every opportunity to plunder public money without any accountability? It is a matter of democracy and I call on all political forces to adopt a position,” Tsipras said, adding that the government must answer to tax payers.
During the meeting, SYRIZA-PA’s leader asked to be briefed on the work done by the authority and raised the alarm over the re-emergence of “past bad habits that had led to Greece’s fiscal derailment”.