In the secretary’s office, in front of the office of Witold Kozłowski (PiS), the marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, there is a “wardrobe” with a Venetian mirror. A security guard is sitting inside, watching the petitioners and guests of the local government official. The Marshal’s spokeswoman, Magdalena Opyd, explains that two security guards were hired because of … “tension in the east and economic issues.” Why are they sitting there? “There was no other,” says Opyd.
On Monday morning, the councilors of the Małopolskie voivodship, Krzysztof Nowak (Civic Coalition) and Tomasz Urynowicz (independent councillor), who formed a control team of councilors called “Transparent Małopolska”, informed journalists about the unusual way of protecting the voivodship marshal Witold Kozłowski (PIS).
According to representatives of the opposition, in one of the walls of the marshal’s secretariat there is a hidden room where a bodyguard – an employee of the internal security service – sits. At first glance, the room looks like a very large wardrobe. On its corner there is a mirror, as it turns out – a Venetian one.
“Some call this structure a wardrobe, others a kitchenette”
– At first glance, the secretariat looks the most ordinary in the world. Near the secretaries’ desks there is what looks like a mirrored wardrobe. It seems that they were set up for guests, so that they could see themselves in it before an important meeting with the marshal. It turns out, however, that it is a Venetian mirror, behind which a security guard is sitting, watching what is happening in the secretariat. There is no message in the secretary’s office that you are being watched, reports Renata Kijowska, a reporter from “Fakty” TVN, who saw the “closet up close”.
– Some call this structure a wardrobe, others a kitchenette. Inside there is a fridge, a coffee machine, a sink and, in the middle of it all, a chair for the security guard. There are also instructions on the wall in case of an attack, the journalist adds.
Some of the equipment of the hidden room can be seen on the recordings recorded by the “Fakty” TVN camera.
The fact that such a room with a security guard is located in the secretariat was found out by the councilors during an inspection in the office. – Our curiosity was aroused by the invoice issued for the purchase of telescopic batons, pepper spray and handcuffs with a holster. That’s where the whole thing started. We started to check the advisability of this purchase – councilor Tomasz Urynowicz told journalists.
Questions about money for bodyguards “from the closet”
A few days ago, councilors received a refusal to provide documents in this case. According to Urynowicz, it is unlawful, because the case concerns public spending. – We were also not provided with information on the costs of operating this security service – noted the local government official.
As emphasized by councilor Krzysztof Nowak, the decision to employ security guards was made in the office in March last year. At that time, Marshal Kozłowski submitted an application to the provincial police commander to establish an internal security service. Although the positive response came in May, the office was supposed to hire two security guards on April 15.
– Of course, the marshal has the right to submit an application to the provincial police commander for the creation of internal security services. Nevertheless, their rules of operation, their uniforms and methods of operation, as well as the scope of protection, are regulated by law – emphasizes Urynowicz. At the same time, he points out that the security guards are not uniformed, although – according to the councilor – they should be.
The councilors asked the provincial police commander in Krakow to “present the justification and substantive grounds for issuing a decision on the creation of an internal security service”. – All this sounds funny, that the wardrobe, that the security staff, but observation is being conducted from behind this glass (…). There is no information in the office that the persons staying in the Marshal’s secretariat are being monitored, added Urynowicz.
Marshal to the reporter: you don’t know what a wardrobe is
Renata Kijowska tried to get a comment from Marshal Kozłowski on the unusual form of protecting his cabinet. – You don’t know what a wardrobe is – answered the local government official. When asked if he felt threatened and why he needed protection, he replied: “the same as in TVN”. There was no response to the question about the funds allocated for protection.
The Marshal’s spokeswoman, Magdalena Opyd, emphasized that the bodyguards were employed for security reasons. He explains that there have been incidents in the past that have disrupted both the secretariat and other officials. Therefore, in 2021, a decision was made to create a position that will ensure the safety of officials. Initially, security services were provided by an external company.
– However, when it comes to the issue of tensions in the east and economic issues that have arisen (…), the Marshal’s Office has decided to hire full-time employees. We have submitted an application to the provincial police chief. It was approved and two employees were hired, Opyd said.
When asked why the bodyguard is in a “wardrobe” with a Venetian mirror, the marshal’s spokeswoman replied that “there is no wardrobe”. – There is a specially prepared annex. There was no other place to seat these employees, so the monitoring was installed in this place – explains Magdalena Opyd.
Spokeswoman: Security staff are not the marshal’s private security
Renata Kijowska, the Marshal’s spokeswoman, later sent to TVN’s “Fakty” journalist, emphasized that “due to space limitations, the position monitoring the view from the cameras into the corridors was located in a separate place of the secretariat of the office of the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. This place was created in 2020 and was not equipped with Venetian mirror, but only tinted glass.
Magdalena Opyd emphasized that employees of the internal security service ensure the safety of employees at Basztowa and Zacisze streets – they make rounds and control the records from the monitoring system located in the halls of the office. “They are not the personal protection of the Marshal of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship” – she emphasized.
– It is not true that the employees were armed with batons, handcuffs and gas. They were purchased by the office due to the required regulations, but they are deposited in a locked room – added Opyd.
Main photo source: “Facts” TVN