For embezzlement and theft of public money, regarding the salaries paid to one of the specialist doctors, who while working in the National Guard, were also registered in the GeSY system and provided services, which was illegal, Zacharias Koulias spoke , chairman of the Audit Committee. The Committee put the Auditor General's report on the Ministry of Defense under the microscope. From the point of view of the Audit Service, what was mentioned by Odysseus Michaelidis was that one of the cases was the reason why the service found that, as the Auditor General himself pointed out, there was a complete lack of control of doctors by the OAU. < /b>
Odysseas Michaelidis, in his position on the matter, referred to the findings of the Audit Service, noting that the issue of the audit of the four military doctors arose after information they had and it was established that certain specialist doctors were health officers, while practicing special medicine, through the NHS. He reminded the MPs who are members of the Control Committee that in the summer of 2019 a law was passed, based on which the Minister of Defense is given authority to grant approval to specialist doctors who work in the National Guard, just as they practice medicine through the NHS.
However, in the specific cases, as Mr. Michaelidis explained, the doctors in question were already registered with the National Health Service and practicing medicine and after the passing of the law, they did not go to the minister to obtain a license. They had already applied and registered with the NHS, they were working as NHS specialist doctors during the time they had to perform their duties in the army, dispensing prescriptions to patients, they were absent from their duties, on sick leave, yet they entered the system and made entries and prescriptions through the NHS. In fact, one of the doctors, continued the Auditor General, had committed a breach of duty.
In his deposition, Odysseas Michaelidis referred to the actions of the National Guard, noting that the Chief had appointed an officer, who would perform the duties of an investigating officer and began a disciplinary investigation, in order to establish whether there were any wrongdoings by the four doctors. The conclusion of the specific investigation was that no disciplinary action should be taken against the specific doctors, for three reasons. The first, as reported by the Auditor General, was that, during the period of the investigation, by law, they now had the option to register with the NHS and practice medicine. The second reason was that the registration of doctors in the NHS was based on the well-intentioned interests of all patients, granting them the right to medical treatment. brilliant minds and such excellent doctors, who sacrificed themselves. The third reason was the many years of experience in their duties and their conscientiousness. Those who wrote sick leave and missed their duties were conscientious”.
Afterwards, the Auditor General indicated that the case was finally put on file, by decision of the Chief. The evidence of the investigation was then put before the Legal Service by the Ministry of Defense and the Attorney General then passed it on to the Police to conduct a criminal investigation to see if criminal offenses arose. The Auditor General noted that the Legal Service ultimately decided that there were no criminal offenses and the case did not proceed. Then, noted Odysseas Michaelidis, the Audit Service sent a letter to the Director of Social Insurance Services and the Tax Commissioner, asking them to carry out a relevant investigation to ascertain the declaration of additional income by the natural persons involved. The Commissioner of Taxation, Mr. Michaelidis noted, in his reply letter stated that it was decided to initiate criminal proceedings against one doctor, while for the rest, the relevant correspondence was sent for control to the Provincial Tax Offices.
It is noted that the doctors were not registered in the social insurance register as self-employed, as required by law. In fact, they received additional remuneration, beyond their salary from the National Guard, for the services they provided to the National Health Service, with one of them receiving up to 226,000 euros.
“Embaste and theft of money »
Then the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Health Insurance Organization, Stavros Michael, took the floor, he pointed out that they are not employers of the doctors and what the organization can do and is doing is to allow the Tax Commissioner to enter its files and see what earnings received by a provider, to compare the amounts, with those he has declared to the tax. As he pointed out, the responsibility is on the taxpayer himself and the State Superintendent, since there is no provision in the legislation that governs the OAU, to exercise any control, in order to establish whether the provider also works elsewhere. What the OAU is asking for, Mr. Michael emphasized, is specific papers, in order for the doctors to register in the GeSY system, and the OAU cannot be held responsible, because it registered some doctors in the system.
Taking the floor, the Auditor General noted that it was these cases that helped the agency to establish that there was a complete lack of control of doctors by the OAU, as the case of the doctor who received 226,000 euros in benefits from the NHS was blatantly problematic, which should to ring a bell at the OAU. Instead, added Mr Michaelidis, when the service sent a letter to the Agency, highlighting the case, after a check on the system showed that the doctor in question had entries for prescriptions within a few minutes, the response received by the Audit Service was that some things were squeezed in, but they could be done so soon.
Intervening, the chairman of the Audit Committee and MP of DIKO, Zacharias Koulias, addressed the deputy director general of the OAU, Athos Tsinontidis, asking him if he is the one who paid the doctor 226,000 euros, in order to receive a positive answer. Then, he asked Mr. Tsinontidis to submit a report to the Parliament within the next few days, in which he will explain the reason why this particular doctor received 226,000 euros.
Mr. Koulias emphasized that the session was held because of this case, which the Audit Service very correctly found, while he argued that it is a waste of public money and theft and the issue is the health of the patients.
Taking the floor, the MP of the Environmentalists, Stavros Papadouris, addressing the chairman of the Board of Directors of the OAU, indicated that a doctor of the National Guard, in order to be able to perform duties in the GeSY, must obtain permission from the Minister of Defense and raised the question whether it is possible to request the paper in question from the organization, in order to receive the answer from Mr. Michael that the employer's permission is not required for the papers requested by the OAU from the doctors. He noted that if there is such a need, for an audit to be carried out, the legislation should be changed and the Organization with all the Ministries should look at it.
The findings that are not given back to the surface
Afterwards, the representative of the Legal Service took the floor, who noted that a criminal investigation was conducted after the Service received the information from the Ministry of Defense. He explained that a criminal investigation was conducted to determine whether there were any criminal offenses involving false representations, false registrations or forgeries. He explained that the Police also took statements from patients and when the finding was passed on to the Legal Service, for the criminal aspect, the Attorney General concluded that no criminal investigations could be instituted.
At this point, the chairman of the Audit Committee asked the representative of the Legal Service to send a copy of the findings to the Parliament, in order to receive the well-known response of the Legal Service, that the findings are not made public.
For her part, the member of parliament of the Democratic Alarm, Rita Theodorou-Superman stated that the crime of the specific doctors was that they did not get permission to register with the NHS and raised the question, to the representative of the Legal Service, if a case can be established for false representations. For her part, the representative of the Legal Service indicated that everything that was required to be declared to the OAU was given and there was no lie anywhere.
The placement of the Chief of the National Guard
Taking the floor, the Chief of the National Guard, Lt. Gen. Dimokritos Zervakis, noted that the issue of doctors is well-known and that this specific session was like déjà vu, as it had been discussed. The investigating officer, who was responsible for imposing internal penalties, ruled that there were none and the Chief cannot interfere with her decision. As he indicated, when he received the conclusion, he sent it back for further examination, but the decision did not change and he cannot cancel a decision of an investigating officer. essence of the problem, there is a tendency for specialist doctors to flee to the army and this amendment to the law had to be made.
The response of the Ministry of Defense
Taking the floor, the representative of the Ministry of Defense indicated that the Ministry filed the bill in the summer of 2019, in order to solve the problem of the flight of specialist doctors from the National Guard. He noted that during the transitional period these cases occurred and the position of the Ministry is that if there is illegality, the path of justice should be followed. He then argued that there might be ambiguities in the legislation governing the specific doctors and added that the National Guard proceeded with its investigation, which the Ministry of Defense forwarded to the Legal Service, which ruled that there were no criminal offences.