Thodoris Chondrogiannos
The Cisco case: The government violates transparency legislation
24 • 01 • 2021

In a state that adheres to the rule of law, the government must abide by the legal requirements of transparency and openness that govern the operation of the administration. However, the Ministry of Education and Religion violated the relevant legislation in its cooperation with Cisco on e-learning.

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Education and Religion reached an agreement with a private company called Cisco for distance learning and the Webex platform, which would be used by the educational community to conduct distance learning courses in the context of restricted movement measures to combat Covid-19.

However, in violation of the rules of transparency and openness, the ministry did not post on its transparency website (Diavgeia) the two contracts it signed with Cisco, dated 13.3.2020 and 11.9.2020.

The Minister of Education, Niki Kerameos, claimed that she had no legal obligation to publicise the contract because it was classed as a donation, however this claim is not valid, since the relevant legislation (Article 2 of law 3861/2010  “Enhancement of transparency with the mandatory posting of laws and acts of government, administrative and self-governing bodies on the internet, Transparency Program, and other provisions“) provides that, “acts of acceptance of donations to the Greek State are posted on the internet.” The same applies to the next two contracts signed by the Ministry of Education with Cisco, dated 9.11.2020 and 4.12.2020.

Where is the problem with the rule of law?

The government and the administration must comply with the legal requirements of transparency and post relevant contracts on the internet for scrutiny by both civil society and the opposition.

However, in this case the Minister of Education and Religion, Niki Kerameos, violated the relevant legislation (Article 2 of Law 3861/2010) by not publishing the contracts signed with the company Cisco.

Thodoris Chondrogiannos
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