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Grants from NCBiR withdrawn. Artur Kurasiński, founder of Spellarena, after meeting with the Minister of Science Dariusz Wieczorek

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The Minister of Science announced the withdrawal of termination notices – Artur Kurasiński, founder of Spellarena, told the tvn24.pl business editorial team. The case concerns a subsidy from the National Center for Research and Development (NCBiR). On Wednesday, the ministry held a meeting with Minister Dariusz Wieczorek and representatives of some enterprises.

Artur Kurasiński, founder and head of Spellarena, a company that is on the list of companies from which NCBiR has withdrawn subsidies, said in an interview with the tvn24.pl business editorial team that during Wednesday's meeting of the head of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Dariusz Wieczorek, with twenty companies, “the Minister of Science announced the withdrawal of the termination notices.” contracts”.

The head of Spellarena said that, as announced by the head of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, a meeting between the minister and the NCBiR management is to be held on this matter on Thursday.

This concerns refunds of up to several million zlotys in funding in the event of irregularities in declarations of no arrears in ZUS contributions. – When signing the contract with NCBiR, we were convinced that we had no arrears to ZUS. It turned out that the arrears amounted to PLN 3.9 thousand, settled two days later – Kurasiński said earlier in an interview with tvn24.pl. – – The arrears cited by the institution (NCBiR – ed.) amounted to PLN 667 and arose after one of our employees completed his studies and thus lost his student status – explained Jacek Złotkiewicz, founder of Pronos.

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Read also: They were late in paying several hundred zlotys to ZUS, they have to pay back three million. “Absurd”

In March, the business editorial team of tvn24.pl asked the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and NCBiR whether companies whose subsidy agreements were terminated would be able to count on an interview and explanation of the situation. NCBiR told us that “in the event of failure to return the funds, NCBiR will take legal steps to recover the amount due through administrative proceedings.” – I understand that the situation is difficult for companies, but we cannot argue with legal provisions – commented Marek Gzik, Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education in an interview with the tvn24.pl business editorial team.

At the end of February this year, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, head of the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy (until March 7 supervised by NCBiR), announced on social media that the Center “is terminating 38 contracts concluded in 2023 for over PLN 195 million. The violation consisted in submitting false financial statements. The minister also wrote that “the prosecutor's office will further deal with the matter.”

It is not clear how many notices are to be “withdrawn”.

“The whole matter generates significant legal, financial and political risk”

The information provided to our editorial office shows that before the meeting, the companies sent a document to Minister Dariusz Wieczorek, in which it was assessed that “many contracts were terminated to the gross detriment of the beneficiaries.”

“They did not commit any violation of the law, they submitted declarations consistent with the facts regarding no arrears with tax and ZUS receivables. It was NCBiR who was obliged to sign the contracts at a time when it had knowledge about the applicants' no arrears with taxes and ZUS, i.e. right after the submission of their statements. In other words, the former management of the NCBR probably exceeded their powers or failed to fulfill their duties, first by conducting the process of signing contracts in such a chaotic manner and inconsistent with the Competition Regulations, and now by terminating many of them without a factual and legal basis,” we read in the document made available tvn24.pl business editorial office

It indicated that “the principle of proportionality was drastically violated.”

“Even in the case of those beneficiaries who – as it turned out most often due to a mistaken belief – were in arrears with ZUS or taxes at the time of submitting the declaration, it is not in line with the principle of proportionality to punish them with a disproportionately high financial penalty (several million + interest) for a relatively small financial arrears (sometimes several hundred or several thousand zlotys, which were then settled anyway). And the erroneous belief that there were no arrears was often caused by, among others, the mess introduced in 2022 by the Polish Order – many changes to the regulations governing the calculation of taxes and ZUS during the tax year – if the Constitutional Tribunal really existed, it would not have happened,” it was explained.

According to the companies, “the whole matter generates significant legal, financial and political risk for the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.” It was explained that many of the injured entrepreneurs were preparing to initiate legal action.

“There is a high probability that at least a large part of the injured parties will obtain favorable decisions in the courts, which will then have financial consequences for the National Center for Research and Development, and ultimately for the State Treasury represented by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. That is, for taxpayers – it would be a gross injustice if it was considered scandalous “the mistakes of the former NCBiR directorate appointed by the previous government were ultimately to be paid by all taxpayers,” it was stated.

Want to share an important topic? Contact the author of the text: joanna.rubin@wbd.com

Author:Joanna Rubin

Main photo source: TVN24



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