Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘King of Absentees’ accused of not turning up for work at hospital for 15 years

He was reportedly paid €538,000 (RM2,666,000) over the years he is now thought to have been comfortably at home.

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Dubbed the “king of absentees” by the Italian press, a public-sector worker at the Arnaldo Pugliese Ciaccio Hospital has been accused of permanently skipping work on full pay for 15 years.

The unidentified man, 67, is alleged to have stopped turning up to work at the Ciaccio hospital in the southern city of Catanzaro in 2005.

He is now being investigated for fraud, extortion and abuse of office, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

He was reportedly paid €538,000 (RM2,666,000) in total over the years he is now thought to have been comfortably at home.

Six managers at the hospital are also being investigated in connection with his work record.

The arrests are the result of a lengthy police investigation into absenteeism and suspected fraud in the Italian public sector, where it is not entirely unknown.

The employee was a civil servant and was assigned to a job in the hospital in 2005. It was at this point he stopped going into work, the police said.

The police have also accused him of threatening his manager to stop her from filing a disciplinary report against him. That manager later retired, police added, and his ongoing absence was never noticed by her successor or human resources.

The inquiry, known as “Operation Part Time”, is part of yet another Carabinieri investigation into alleged fraud and absenteeism in the public sector, something the Italian police have been accused of themselves.

While the hospital staffer may own the one-man no-show record, a small town outside of Naples may have taken the team record.

In 2016, the mayor of Boscotrecase had to shut down most municipal services when almost half of his staff members were suspended for chronic absenteeism, including one who for years hid his identity by putting a cardboard box over his head while clocking in for his “work” mates.

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