Friday, October 1, 2004


/ budget? / ah, that budget! /
Continuing, in a sense, the previous post about the Greek military budget, it might be interesting to connect the country's military overspending to this recent scandal:

The Defense Ministry yesterday forwarded two cases relating to the procurement of arms by the previous government for further investigation by prosecutors. It also looks increasingly likely that a parliamentary committee will be formed to look at a report into the purchase of two other weapons systems.

The new cases relate to the purchase of four Russian hovercraft in 2000 and a contract to buy 20 NH-90 helicopters in 2003 from a multinational company based in France. The hovercraft deal was worth 62.8 million euros. The helicopter contract amounted to 699 million euros.

Files on these cases were sent to Athens chief prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos yesterday, by the head of economic planning at the Defense Ministry, Giorgos Zorbas, with the overall allegation that the two deals harmed the Greek State. The report claims that among other things, several procurement rules were broken, the hovercraft have never been used and each helicopter was overpriced by 8 million euros.

Note that the unit prices for the transport version of the NH-90 are quoted at 20 million Euros... times 20 equals 400 million Euros, even if one purchased them one at a time... Reportedly the Finns paid half the amount Greece paid for the exact same number and type of NH-90 helicopters... (Initially, Greece was supposed to purchase 42 helicopters (find NH-90 near the bottom of the page) for the same amount of money , but then the number of helicopters inexplicably was halved, while the price remained the same...

The situation is pretty much as Kathimerini describes it:

It is common knowledge that the military has often purchased weaponry that does not meet the country’s genuine security needs. Overblown procurements are often only a pretext for kickbacks, bribery and illegal profit by a dark group of middlemen who have set their eye on public wealth. In this sector, corruption, deception and fraud are king.

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