Greece: New Government Forms Anti-Graft Body

The two-month-old Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis appointed on Wednesday Angelos Binis - a man with no political background - as the head of the newly created anti-graft body, the Greek City Times reported.

Kyriakos MitsotakisGreek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (Photo: European People's Party (CC BY 2.0))By creating the Transparency Authority, according to the report, the center-right government is transferring, for the first time, powers and responsibilities of “public administration inspection services” to an independent body, the report said.

“Both the transfer of the inspection authorities to an independent authority and by proposing that this authority be staffed by a public-sector technocrat with no party background indicate the government’s absolute commitment to a real institutional and operation depoliticisation of the control of corruption,” the media reported citing a government’s source.

Binis has extensive “experience in issues related to fighting corruption,” the paper said, adding that he worked as an advisor to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

During his election campaign, in a run against the radical-left SYRIZA party, Mitsotakis, according to the National Herald, promised that his government would “depoliticize” the public administration by “ending a tradition of awarding senior administrative jobs to party loyalists on political criteria.”

The establishment of the Transparency Authority seems to be part of a promise the New Democracy leader Mitsotakis made in his campaign ahead of Greek snap elections on July 7 - to ban “ex-prime ministers, cabinet ministers, senior civil servants and government advisers from regulatory positions for five years after leaving office.”

The Greek parliament passed such a bill in late July and supported the new government’s plan to reduce property, income and corporate taxation as well as to carry out reforms on public administration to remove bureaucratic hurdles for investments.

According to Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, Greece was the EU member state scoring the biggest drop in annual rankings measuring perceptions of corruption across the world.

The country, reportedly, dropped three points in a year, joining five countries in the bloc considered to be more corrupt than clean.

According to reports, the Novartis scandal - the Swiss pharma company that had allegedly bribed Greek public officials - had contributed to the rise of corruption perception in the Mediterranean country.