Court of Audit reveals 47-bln-euro spending overshoot in 2009

Greece’s Court of Audit has produced a report that suggests Greece spent 47 billion euros more than it had budgeted in 2009, leading to the country borrowing 105 billion euros.

The 1,000-page report was submitted to Parliament on Thursday. It details how the government borrowed 64.5 billion euros more than it planned to in 2009 because it was unable to keep budgetary expenses under control.

The conservative administration of New Democracy was in power until October 2009, when elections were held and the Socialists of PASOK came to office. It was at that point that Greece’s public deficit was revised upwards considerably, prompting the crisis that led to Athens calling on the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund for emergency loans.

Evangelos Antonaros, who was the government spokesman in 2009, defended the high borrowing by arguing that Greece had to frontload its borrowing program as a result of the global financial crisis.

"We decided that in 2009 we had to borrow as much as we could upfront more than the state budget required,» he told Skai radio.

The Court of Audit also found that 658 million euros had been spent illegally in 2009 and those who received this money were asked to return it.

The state body found myriad of ways in which rules were broken, this included public contracts being handed out without a tender process, civil servants receiving bonuses that they were not entitled to and payments to private contractors for work that should have been carried out by public sector employees. 

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