A motion for an ad hoc Parliamentary committee to investigate the involvement of four former ministers in a Siemens kickbacks scandal was tabled in Parliament on Friday, signed by 108 ruling PASOK party MPs.
Such ad hoc Parliamentary committees are vested with all the powers of a public prosecutor when conducting a preliminary investigation and can propose the start of criminal proceedings against those under investigation.
The MPs also proposed that the evidence and charges be first examined by the Three-Member Advisory Council, as outlined in the new law on ministerial responsibility, so that it could advise on whether the charges are statute-barred and whether the accused should be referred to a Special Court or the ordinary justice system.
The former ministers accused are Anastasios Mantelis and Akis Tsohatzopoulos from PASOK, who face a charge of accepting bribes that were deleterious to public interests and legalising income from illegal activities, and New Democracy's George Alogoskoufis and Christos Markoyiannakis, who are accused of breach of faith against the public sector.
Alogoskoufis is up on charges as the minister responsible for the oversight of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE), while Markoyiannakis is considered responsible for the faulty C4I system.
The charges against Tsohatzopoulos concern the purchase of the Patriot missile system while Mantelis is being charged for accepting an illegal campaign contribution of 200,000 German marks. For the latter two, the charge of accepting bribes is considered to be statute barred while the charge of money-laundering should be handled by regular courts.
The motion tabled by PASOK further proposes that all the evidence gathered during the Parliamentary examination of the Siemens case be turned over to the justice system so that it can investigate whether there is criminal liability for actions that fall into its purview for the other eight political figures referred in the original report issued by the Parliamentary examination committee. According to the motion, Parliament is not the appropriate body to investigate the other eight people mentioned in the report because a deadline for this has expired.
Mantelis, in his capacity as OTE chairman (1985-1988), industry ministry general secretary (1993-1997) and transport and communications minister (1997-2000) is considered responsible for approving OTE contracts without checking their prices, an omission that could be linked with the 200,000 marks wired to his account from Siemens slush funds during the same period.
Alogoskoufis is considered liable for failing to carry out any check on prices and clauses for OTE contracts, which were inflated by 65 percent, and for twice failing to demand legal compensation from Siemens once the scandal was uncovered. The total estimated damage as a result of these omissions in managed is estimated at roughly 286 million euro.
Markoyiannakis is considered to have failed to take action when the C4I system proved incompatible with the use outlined in the contract, in his capacity as deputy public order minister and then alternate interior minister from 2004 until 2009. He is accused of wrongly returning letters of guarantee worth over 11 million euro for the system and, since delivery of the C4I system was never accepted, of having cost the Greek public sector the full worth of the contract or 255 million euro.
Concerning Tsohatzopoulos, the MPs emphasise testimony given to a public prosecutor in Munich and Greek examining magistrates that Siemens paid 10 million euro as a commission for the Patriot missile contract because a bribe had been demanded to award the contract. They point to the likelihood that Tsohatzopoulos had accepted the bribe in 2008, since there was no indication from the testimony whether the bribe was for an army official or politician.