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Former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau before the investigative commission: there was no visa scandal

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Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau appeared on Tuesday before the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the visa scandal. He stated that in his opinion there was no visa scandal, but only a “cascade of lies, fake news and slander.” – I didn't know about the visa scandal and I don't accept such statements – he said. He added that these were “a number of irregularities controlled and eliminated both by the services and law enforcement agencies in a final manner.”

Former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zbigniew Rau appeared on Tuesday morning before the Sejm investigative committee on the so-called visa scandal. At first, he took advantage of the opportunity to speak freely. He recalled that in September last year, the then opposition accused the government PIS about the visa scandal, he claimed that there was no scandal, but there was a “cascade of fake news, slander and lies”. He assured that he had not changed his mind on this matter.

– Contrary to the opposition's accusations, there was no mass issuance of hundreds of thousands of visas for bribes from foreigners, there was no trade in visas at stands set up in front of Polish missions in African countries, there was no corruption among employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign missions, and there was no pressure from the management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on consular services in order to enable corrupt practices – the witness emphasized.

Zbigniew Rau PAP/Rafał Guz

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He added that the prosecutor's investigation revealed irregularities in the processing of applications for 607 visas, of which 268 visas were issued. As he pointed out, the scale of the detected irregularities amounted to approximately 15-30 per mille of the visas issued at that time.

He noted that in the investigation conducted by the prosecutor's office, seven people were charged “because they either claimed influence in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or in foreign missions, or offered financial benefits or announced such benefits in the future.”

Rau pointed out that the then deputy minister of foreign affairs, Piotr Wawrzyk, responsible, among others, for supervising the consular services, he suffered political responsibility and lost his position, and after a few months he was charged in an ongoing investigation. According to Rau, the Polish state, including the services and law enforcement agencies, acted perfectly in the case of irregularities.

Zbigniew Rau's free statement at the commission of inquiry into the visa scandal (full) TVN24

Rau about the conversation with Kamiński

Rau was asked, among other things: about when the then head of services Mariusz Kamiński informed him about the visa scandal. – He mentioned to me for the first time about irregularities regarding visa processing in the second half of 2022, pointing out that it was very general information that this procedure is the subject of operational activities of our services – replied the former head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

– Later, it's hard for me to say how many times, maybe once, maybe twice, (Kamiński) mentioned the consequences of such irregularities. He once mentioned the presence of foreigners on the Rio Grande who were suspected of having Polish visas. I don't remember exactly, he claimed.

As he added, the name of Edward Kobos, a close associate of Deputy Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, “was more in-depth information” that Kamiński provided to him in the second half of April 2023. – I did not know about the visa scandal and I do not accept such statements – Rau said. In his opinion, these are “a number of irregularities controlled and eliminated both by the services and law enforcement agencies in a final manner.”

Commission on the visa scandal

On Tuesday afternoon, the former president of Grupa Azoty, Tomasz Hinc, who refused to testify last week on the grounds of trade secrets, is to testify at a closed meeting of the committee. The Commission then announced that it would ask the current president of the company to release Hinc from trade secrets. Hinc told reporters he would appear at Tuesday's hearing.

The Commission is investigating abuses, negligence and omissions in the legalization of the stay of foreigners in Poland in the period from November 12, 2019 to November 20, 2023.

In April last year CBA detained Edgar Kobos – assistant to the former deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Piotr Wawrzyk, responsible for consular affairs. The prosecutor's office determined that Kobos received bribes for visas from 607 people. Wawrzyk was dismissed from his position as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 31, 2023, and in January this year he was detained by officers of the Lublin branch of the CBA during an investigation into paid protection in connection with accelerating visa procedures.

Main photo source: PAP/Rafał Guz



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