One by one more signs appear that those who try to monopolize water services get themselves in danger of drowning: foremost among these (in Greece) is the infamous HRADF. Thus we felt great joy as well as a strong feeling that justice has been done, when we learned about decision nr 736/2014 of the Athens Court of First Instance. We feel congratulations are in order to the Citizens’ Union for Water (applicants in the case above) and we hope that said decision will be the beginning of the end at least as far as the non-disclosure by HRADF of issues concerning public welfare is concerned.(For those abroad who may not be aware what HRADF is: it’s an s.a. company modeled after the German Treuhand and having as its aim the sellout of a great amount of public assets to private “investors”; As per its statutes as well as several laws that deal with its operations its BoD Members can bear neither penal nor civil responsibility for any acts or omissions performed while the Fund itself may withhold any documents or information as its directors see fit).
The Citizens’ Union for Water (comprised of municipal water and sewage cooperatives operating in the Thessaloniki area, citizens groups for the non-privatization of water services and EYATh personnel) is one of the groups that took part in the HRADF Tender for the selling of the majority of the EYATh shares. They have then been thrown out of the procedure without any explanation and therefore appealed to the Court and asked (through an injunction procedure) that HRADF be ordered to provide all documentation relative to the above Tender’s procedure.
The Court dismissed the excuses of HRADF and decided that the applicants have a legitimate interest in their request.
The story up to now:
- On 16 May 2013 the Union submitted all documents necessary for its participation in the above Tender: such documentation covered: the financial basis of the Union based on the criteria specified in the Tender, its legal suitability and also technical qualification data.
- On 31 May 2013 HRADF dismissed the Union’s application without clarifying the specific requirement(s) the Union did not (apparently) satisfy.
- On 4 June 2013 the Union submitted a complaint requesting the annulment of the Decision above also asking HRADF to display and provide copies of the following documents:
- A copy of the Board Meeting minutes when the above decision has been taken.
- Copies of the documentation submitted by all other participants during same tender.
- All documents through which HRADF has requested additional data and/or clarifications from the Tender participants and the documents submitted according to these by the other participants.
HRADF refused to provide anything.
The Union obtained an order by the local District Attorney that HRADF provide such documents as had been asked but still HRADF refused to comply.
Then the Union submitted to the (competent) Athens Court a petition asking That HRADF be obliged to comply; the Court issued decision 736/2014 thus creating a precedent against HRADF’s secretive procedures.
Following the denial of the Thessaloniki citizens (through the referendum of 18 May 2014) for the privatization of the local water company and the Council’s of State decision against the privatization of public water companies, the decision of the Athens Court is the third Greek victory in our fight for water.
And as this collective fight continues, more will follow …