The left-wing “Independent Fighting Intervention” political grouping in the city council of the Athens neighbourhood of Vyronas is accusing the municipal administration of “callous and anti-popular” tactics, after the municipality seized the bank deposits of 3,800 citizens with back debts.
The debts involve matters such as unpaid traffic tickets, payment from stores occupying public spaces, cemetery fees, and sewage fees.
“The ‘left-wing’ [Syriza] administration [of Mayor Grigorios Katopodis] is implementing the bailout memorandum laws and commitments of the Syriza-Independent Greeks government. Shamelessly, and without a shred of social sensitivity, it gave information to banks in order to seize the bank deposits of thousands of citizens, and they did this just days before Christmas and on the eve of the disbursal of the “social dividend” stipend,” the city council faction charged.
“They are turning the municipality into a collection agency, hand-in-hand with the government’s seizures and foreclosed property auctions. They are thus contributing to the pillaging and impoverishment of thousands of citizens,” the faction said.
They underlined that the nearly 4,000 seizures concern debts accrued through 2013, and that there are many more to come.
The finance ministry permits citizens to declare one bank account that is not subject to seizure, so the debtors had presumably not taken that protective measure.
In its response, the municipality said it acted according to the law, which attributes personal legal responsibility to city treasurers if they are remiss in collecting debt.
They note that they had shown forebearance for three years, so as to allow debtors to opt for payment in 100 small installments, which many did, and they accused the faction of partisan political grandstanding.