September 30, 2010
The so-called Vatopaidi case is now revealed as being a prefabricated ‘scandal’ without a trace of proof, despite the government’s declarations to the contrary. Four separate reports submitted to the investigative committee prove that the state has not suffered any financial injury by the so called ‘holy exchanges of land’. Moreover, there has been no waste of public money.
Yesterday (Tuesday, September 28, 2010), the former Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, was also vindicated. In a memo to the investigative committee, he clearly stressed with emphasis that he has assumed full political responsibility for the case and that nothing reproachful had taken place.
One question now remains: What is PASOK looking for now? What does it want to prove and to whom? If PASOK does not accept the existing accountants’ reports, why did it proceed to set up the pre-investigative committee?
As the Mps who are already taking part in this committee are attesting, the results will need at least two years to come out if new reports are requested.
Political intrigue is obviously at hand here. The Papandreou government needs to keep the issue in the public eye, to declare that there is a so-called scandal, in order to pass on its own message to the naïve and the uninformed; to those people who have not yet realized that such political practices must be turned off if the country is to move forward.
Karamanlis’ letter to the president of the pre-investigative committee on the Vatopaidi case:
In reply to your letter, I would like to remind you that I have repeatedly referred to the Vatopaidi case in the past. I have nothing to add to those public declarations I have made. I am summarizing them as follows:
1) The proprietorship rights of the Vistonida lake and the surrounding areas have been clarified before 2004. The state has recognized Vatopaidi’s rights on the area.
All the supporting official documents have been in place since 2003.
2) The various ministers of the ND governments have adopted the legitimate process of the land exchanges in view of the former government decisions, the peoples’ demand for a solution to their problems in the area, and the fact that no funds were available for expropriation. This process has been applied in the past as well.
3) Two consecutive investigative committees, a long investigative process and the testimony of a large number of witnesses did not prove that anything reproachful had taken place. They did not even prove the slightest hint of political responsibility against anyone despite the obvious animosity and prejudice shown.
4) I am not in a position to assess the price valuations of the land and the various processes. But it is worth noting that four different valuations, by two different independent bodies, have found nothing reproachful, suspicious, and financially damaging to the state. It is curious to say the least, that these reports have been hidden during the sitting of the second investigative committee, and additional evaluations are being requested at this late point of time.
5) Since the judicial inquiry was launched which has caused public furor, the government decided to set up the investigative committee and rescind the decisions on the property rights of the land in the areas in question, to preempt any accusations of damage to public interests. All relevant ministers acted strictly and legitimately, without deviation from this line.
6) I have assumed full political responsibility for the case in a speech on the 16th of December 2008. I believe that it is the Prime Minister’s duty to assume the objective political responsibility on any issue of public interest, even if he believes that no political person has behaved reproachfully in the least.
I have nothing to add on this issue. I wish and hope that the committee under your auspices will look for the truth, avoid political intrigue, will not defame personalities or try to create communicative fanfare. These are ailing phenomena which unfortunately are often present in our public life.
With kind regards,