By Angelos Anastasiou
THE government has received and delivered 20 new luxury cars for former and sitting officials, in replacement of the previous ones, which are considered old and energy-inefficient, and thus uneconomic, daily Phileleftheros reported on Friday.
The paper said that the state cars cost around €500,000 in all, and 19 have already been passed on to the users.
These include the 11 government ministers, of whom Interior minister Socratis Hasikos returned his to the Electro-mechanical Services (EMS) department, saying he prefers to use his own private vehicle.
But his request was declined because the new law – in effect since January 1, 2016 – designates the maximum engine displacement and emission standards that state cars must meet.
Therefore, ministers may not use a car with specifications different to these.
Another of the cars was given to undersecretary to the president Constantinos Petrides, charged with reforming the civil service and bureaucratic procedures,
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, who is also entitled to one, sent a letter to the EMS, in which he waived his right to use of the car, saying he will continue to use the state car afforded him as head of the Press and Information Office.
Attorney-general Costas Clerides, police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou, former presidents Yiorgos Vasiliou and Demetris Christofias, former House Speakers Alexis Galanos and Marios Garoyian, and First Lady Andri Anastasiades, were also given a state car.
The final car is expected to be given to sitting House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou in May, when his term expires.
The car used by former House Speaker Vasos Lyssarides was found to be in satisfactory condition, and was thus not replaced.
According to Phileleftheros, four more state cars are expected to be bought in 2016, to replace the ones currently used by the Auditor-general, the President of the Supreme Court, the chief of the National Guard, and the boss of the secret service.
Meanwhile, an appeal by A. Loutsios & Sons Ltd, importers of Isuzu cars, was sustained by the Tenders Review Board last Monday.
The company was the sole bidder in the state’s procurement for 40 semi-trucks last July, at a price 1.9 per cent higher than the announced cost.
Citing these reasons, the Transport ministry called off the tenders process, and the company appealed with the Tenders Review Board.
The board sustained the company’s appeal unanimously, noting that the ministry knew there had been only one bidder before completing its procedures, and therefore could have called off the competition before the bid was even opened.