All senators supported the adoption of the so-called anti-corruption law proposed by Kukiz’15. The Senate passed several amendments, including a ban on combining the mandate by parliamentarians and local government officials with work in state institutions and companies from next year.
The amendment to the Criminal Code and other acts known as the “anti-corruption law” was prepared by Kukiz’15-Direct Democracy MPs and supported by PiS as part of a political agreement concluded between both parties. The Sejm passed the act in mid-September.
On Friday, the bill and its amendments were backed by 100 senators.
The Senate passed the anti-corruption law
The most important of the amendments introduced by the Senate concerns the introduction from January 1, 2022 – and not from the next term of office – forbidding parliamentarians and local government members from combining their mandate with employment or other activities in state institutions and companies in which the State Treasury or a local government unit has every at least 10 percent shares
Senator Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, who, as the rapporteur for the legislative and human rights committee, introduced the amendments to the Senate, explained in an interview with PAP that during the work of the joint committees, senators decided to introduce changes to the act, that the court would optionally – and not obligatorily – decide on the ruling for the corruption offense of a ban on holding positions. “Thus, during the work in the committee, we recognized that, in accordance with the provisions of the criminal procedure, this is the sphere of judicial independence” – Kwiatkowski told PAP.
He also explained that the catalog of corruption offenses for which the court may order a ban on holding positions was supplemented with the so-called clerical crime.
Agreements up to PLN 500 – assumptions of the anti-corruption act
The senators, however, did not support the amendment that would require parties to disclose their membership fees. – The point is that there should be no obligation for parties to enter these minor membership fees in the payment register, because these are small amounts and there is no such need. Of course, it is about membership fees, and not about larger contributions to a party or a candidate, explained the senator.
Senators also supported the amendments that introduce technical solutions to facilitate the search for data in party registers, as well as in contract registers of public finance sector entities.
Senators also decided that in the event of errors in party registers, the PKW will first call for their removal, and only when this call is ineffective, will it impose a fine of up to 30,000. PLN – according to the criteria specified in the Act.
The senators decided that the register of contracts concluded by units of the public finance sector will only include contracts whose value exceeds PLN 500. – It results from pragmatics. We decided that the register will only include contracts of a slightly greater value, and not, for example, each contract of mandate for one hundred and several zlotys – explained Kwiatkowski.
The Minister of Finance was obliged to organize such a register. – The point is that these registers should be functional and integrated. The Central Register of Contracts should start operating on July 1, 2022, added the senator.
Severe penalties for breaking anti-corruption laws
The act passed in mid-September expands the catalog of crimes, the commission of which will result in severe sanctions, including loss of job, as well as a lifetime ban on working in public institutions in the event of recidivism. Moreover, it assumes, inter alia, that those convicted of corruption will not be able to compete for public money under tenders; the court will be able to deprive a person convicted of corruption of public rights; village heads, mayors, city presidents, parliamentarians will not be able to be employed in companies in which the State Treasury or a local government unit owns at least 10 percent. stocks or shares.
According to the “anti-corruption law”, political parties will be obliged to keep and update registers of payments, which will be placed in the BIP; they will also be required to keep a register of concluded contracts, also available in the BIP. Local governments are also to be obliged to publish contracts.
The act will now be returned to the Sejm.
Main photo source: PAP / Tomasz Gzell