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Former public finance discipline spokesman Piotr Patkowski before the committee in the Pegasus case

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– The case of violation of public finance discipline in connection with the transfer of funds from the Justice Fund to the CBA was examined in a substantive manner – said Piotr Patkowski, former chief spokesman for public finance discipline, before the investigative commission for Pegasus.

In 2020, Patkowski refused to initiate explanatory proceedings regarding the transfer of PLN 25 million from the Justice Fund to the CBA, from which the Pegasus spyware was purchased. The Pegasus investigative committee asked him about this issue on Monday.

Witold Zembaczyński (KO) asked the witness about his opinions on the purchase of Pegasus and fulfilling the statutory duties of the chief spokesman for public finance discipline. Zembaczyński recalled that Patkowski confirmed the reservation of the Supreme Audit Office about the violation of public finance discipline by the head of the CBA, but did not impose any penalty because he found “a negligible degree of harmfulness of the act”.

Patkowski emphasized that he “knew that this was a case that should be and was considered substantively.”

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The former chief spokesman for public finance discipline explained that he “tightened the decision of the disciplinary spokesman” of the first instance, and this “tightening” consisted in the fact that the disciplinary spokesman refused to initiate proceedings due to the lack of the criteria specified in Art. 11 of the Act on violation of public finance discipline. – I found that this article was violated due to formal issues (…) – he said before the committee.

When asked when he would consider it to be a highly harmful act, Patkowski noted that “in many situations.” – Firstly, if the Justice Fund did not provide for such a substantive and legal basis for these funds to be directed to detecting and preventing crime. Secondly, if the amended provisions of the Executive Penal Code did not provide for the allocation of Justice Fund funds to units of the public finance sector. Thirdly, if the catalog of statutory tasks of the CBA did not provide for tasks consistent with the tasks provided for by law for the Justice Fund – said Patkowski.

Former chief spokesman for public finance discipline, Piotr PatkowskiPAP/Tomasz Gzell

Patkowski maintained that the legal basis for transferring funds from the Justice Fund to the CBA was the crime prevention provision. Paweł Śliz (Polska2050-TD) noted that the letter from former Deputy Minister of Justice Michał Woś to the then Minister of Finance Teresa Czerwińska mentioned a different basis – counteracting the causes of crime.

Patkowski: If the commission found a violation, it would result in a warning or reprimand

The witness was also asked what maximum consequences could be imposed on Deputy Minister Woś and the head of the CBA, Ernest Bejda, for violating public finance discipline.

Patkowski pointed out that the consequence could have been, among other things, a request for their punishment to the adjudication committee of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister. He added that the commission has the ability to impose a catalog of penalties, but – in his opinion – it would end in acquittal. – I know from experience that if the commission found a violation, it would result in a warning or reprimand – he said. He added that the strictest penalty is a ban on using public funds. As he said, in practice this penalty is not used and – in his opinion – it could not be applied in this situation.

When asked why, as part of proceedings for violating public finance discipline, he did not call, for example, the head of the unit concerned, he replied that such a practice is not used because the proceedings are based on documents. In his opinion, the facts were clear enough to make an assessment.

He denied having contacted Deputy Minister Woś, then Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki or the president of PiS, Jarosław Kaczyński, during the proceedings.

NIK submitted a notification

In 2018, the Supreme Audit Office questioned the transfer of PLN 25 million from the Justice Fund to the Central Anticorruption Bureau due to the fact that the CBA can only be financed from the state budget. NIK submitted a notification to the spokesman for public finance discipline about a possible violation of public finance discipline by the then head of the CBA, Ernest Bejda, and the deputy minister of justice, Michał Woś.

After the Supreme Audit Office refused to initiate explanatory proceedings, it filed a complaint against this decision to the chief spokesman for public finance discipline – then Piotr Patkowski, who in the decision of September 14, 2020 also refused to initiate explanatory proceedings. Patkowski justified his decision by the “insignificant degree of harmfulness” of the act committed.

Main photo source: PAP/Tomasz Gzell



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