“In the period from April 16 to May 9, 2020, there was no legal basis for issuing a decision recommending the holding of general elections by correspondence. In this state of affairs, the issuance of the decision of April 16, 2020 should have been assessed negatively,” we read in the final report of the Supreme Audit Office, excerpts of which were published by Onet. It is about organizing “envelope elections”. Onet’s editor-in-chief Bartosz Węglarczyk in “Dzień po dni” on TVN24 drew attention to two basic allegations contained in the NIK report. The portal writes that the head of government’s decisions have so far cost taxpayers nearly PLN 133 million.
Onet portal announced on Tuesday that the publication of the NIK report on “envelope elections” in the coming days. According to journalists, the Supreme Audit Office “has evidence that puts Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the head of his office, Michał Dworczyk, in a difficult legal position. Marian Banaś announced the publication of the report on May 18. It is about the correspondence elections that were to take place in May 2020.
“NIK negatively assesses the process of preparing general elections”
On Thursday evening, in another publication on this subject, the portal presented extensive records of this final report.
“NIK negatively assesses the process of preparing general elections for the President of the Republic of Poland ordered on May 10, 2020 with the use of correspondence voting” – this is what it says in the final report.
Onet cites that, according to the Supreme Audit Office, “in the period from April 16 to May 9, 2020, there was no legal basis for issuing a decision recommending general elections by correspondence. In this state of affairs, the decision of April 16, 2020 should be assessed negatively”.
Then Onet cites further fragments of the report, in which the Supreme Chamber of Control points out that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki issued a decision on the organization of envelope elections, despite the fact that “in the light of the provisions of the Electoral Code in force (on the day of their issuance), competences of the PKW, election officials and election commissions “,” opinions of the Legal Department of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Poland expressed significant doubts as to the legal basis for issuing these decisions, “and” the Chancellery of the Prime Minister did not have an analysis / estimate of the costs of implementing orders by Poczta Polska and PWPW ( …) Although their implementation was connected with the incurring expenses from the state budget ”.
Onet for NIK: lawyers clearly warned the prime minister against issuing this decision
Onet writes that “in the final report of the Supreme Audit Office, most allegations are made against the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister himself, Mateusz Morawiecki.” The portal claims that the document by the Supreme Audit Office clearly shows that “key decisions in the process of organizing the so-called envelope elections were issued by the head of the government and the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Michał Dworczyk”. “And this despite the critical legal opinions drawn up by the most important government lawyers who clearly warned the prime minister against issuing this decision,” he adds.
He then cites that in the analysis of the Legal Department of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, its director Magdalena Przybysz indicated that if the head of the government makes such a decision, he must take into account criminal liability, liability before the State Tribunal, but also possible dismissal and personal financial liability.
Onet also indicates that the audit of the Supreme Audit Office also showed that “before the decision of April 16, 2020, Poczta Polska and PWPW were not notified of the initiation of the procedure and were not allowed to comment before the aforementioned decision was issued”. “It was inconsistent with art. 61 par. 4 and art. 10 par. 1 of the Act of June 14, 1960, Code of Administrative Procedure” – stated in the quoted passage.
Kamiński and Sasin “refused to follow the prime minister’s orders”
Onet’s editor-in-chief, Bartosz Węglarczyk, in the “Dzień po dni” program on TVN24, drew attention to two basic accusations contained in the NIK report. “The first is that the prime minister knew because his government lawyers told him that it was illegal for the prime minister to organize these elections,” he said.
– Moreover, these government lawyers, including the head of the legal department of the prime minister’s office, wrote to the prime minister that if he organized these elections, he would face criminal liability, including the State Tribunal, which could force him to resign, including imprisonment, personal financial liability of the prime minister . Knowing this, the prime minister organized these elections – emphasized Węglarczyk.
In the opinion of the editor-in-chief of Onet, the second equally important allegation is that the Minister of Internal Affairs Mariusz Kamiński and Minister of State Assets Jacek Sasin “refused to carry out the orders of the prime minister”. “They just didn’t fill them out, presumably believing them to be illegal,” he added.
The total cost of envelope choices is nearly PLN 133 million
Onet points out that in the final report, the Supreme Audit Office indicates that the entire process of organizing the would-be elections resulted in the uneconomic spending of PLN 56.4 million from the State Treasury as compensation for Poczta Polska and PWPW and the loss of these companies for a total amount of 76.5 million, and So far, unlawfully issued decisions of the head of government have so far cost taxpayers nearly PLN 133 million. Onet emphasizes that these are the amounts indicated on the invoices.
In the case of Poczta Polska, these costs may increase even more due to the storage and possible disposal of printed voting cards.
“According to the Supreme Audit Office, even extraordinary situations, such as an epidemic, should not be a reason to depart from the constitutional principle of the rule of law and to look for solutions ensuring efficient spending of public funds on the implementation of state tasks” – emphasized Onet.
Main photo source: Leszek Szymański / PAP