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Mishandled cash

GREECE The secretary-general and four more top level educational advisers resigned from the Greek ministry of education following allegations of mishandling and misallocation of large sums of money from the EU Structural Fund.

Conflicting statements from the officers who resigned have added to the confusion and fuelled speculation of a deep crisis in the ranks of the ministry.

The ministry's secretary-general, Athanasios Tsouroplis, and a committee appointed by him, were responsible for the management of Drs 10bn (ECU 40bn) from the EU Structural Fund for 1994 but for the first nine months of the year had only allocated less than half the sum, to just seven universities and seven further education colleges.

Anxious that funds should not be lost due to time limitations, the education secretary appointed Professor Michalis Papamantelos, head of a special committee to manage the balance of the Structural Fund money, but secretary-general Mr Tsouroplis not only refused to hand over responsibility to Professor Papamantelos, he hastily allocated the remainder of the money to several educational establishments with less than clear and objective criteria. Professor Papamantelos, finding himself without a job, tendered his resignation and an angry education secretary sacked Mr Tsouroplis.

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