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Investigation into the purchase of the Hermes system by the National Prosecutor's Office. There is an investigation

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The District Prosecutor's Office in Rzeszów is conducting an investigation into the conclusion of the contract and the use of the Hermes spy system by the National Prosecutor's Office. Computers of PK employees were seized and several dozen people were questioned as witnesses. The investigation has three main threads: possible mismanagement, how the system was used and the safety issue related to installation and operation. The National Prosecutor's Office purchased Hermes software in 2021.

As reported by prosecutor Dorota Sokołowska-Mach, the scope of the preparatory proceedings conducted by the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Rzeszów covers three topics related to the conclusion of a supply contract and the use of this software by the National Prosecutor's Office.

The first thread concerns possible mismanagement, i.e. unjustified suspicion of spending public funds in violation of applicable procedures. The circumstances related to the decision to purchase software, the selection of a supplier and the adoption of a specific purchasing procedure are verified in terms of legality, purposefulness and reliability.

Another aspect of the case that investigators are examining concerns how the system is used.

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“As part of the thread regarding the use of the Hermes software, the circumstances related to its actual functionality are verified, including information indicating the suspicion of its use bypassing the procedures regarding ordering and developing analyzes by the relevant organizational unit of this institution and carrying out such analyzes outside the scope of the statutory tasks of the prosecutor's office.” – explained prosecutor Sokołowska-Mach.

As regards the third thread of the investigation – as the prosecutor emphasized – the circumstances related to the installation, operation and servicing of the software are analyzed from the perspective of a possible threat to the IT security of the PK and the IT data processed there.

“To date, during the preparatory proceedings, a number of procedural activities have been carried out aimed at comprehensive clarification of the circumstances of the case,” said prosecutor Sokołowska-Mach.

Several dozen people were interrogated and employees' computers were secured

She noted that with the participation of experts, IT infrastructure devices, electronic correspondence and stationary and portable computers of employees of the National Prosecutor's Office involved in the purchasing procedure and subsequent work using the Hermes system were secured.

Proc. Sokołowska-Mach also indicated that documentation was secured and inspected, and several people with important information regarding the circumstances of the purchase and use of the Hermes software were interviewed as witnesses.

“Due to the multi-threaded and complicated nature of the investigation, both in terms of documentation, analytical and technical aspects, in order to obtain information on issues requiring specialist knowledge, the opinion of IT experts from the Forensic Research Office of the Internal Security Agency in Warsaw was sought,” the prosecutor said.

Hermes more advanced than Pegasus

At the beginning of March, “Gazeta Wyborcza” revealed that in the spring of 2021, the National Prosecutor's Office purchased a specialized Hermes spy system, the software of which was to be even more advanced than Pegasus.

The spokesman for the Prosecutor General, prosecutor Anna Adamiak, referring to this publication, said in a statement that this system enables obtaining and processing information from a number of available sources (including information from social networking sites, websites, data posted on online forums and disclosed in published databases).

– The indicated, advanced analytical software was to be used to conduct detailed studies at the National Prosecutor's Office, its own studies, as well as those carried out at the request of subordinate units – explained Prosecutor Adamiak then.

Also in March, the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Rzeszów initiated an investigation into the abuse of powers and failure to fulfill obligations in the period from an unspecified date in 2020 to February 1, 2023 in Warsaw. It concerns public officials obliged to deal with property matters in connection with the assessment of the validity of the purchase and the procedure for acquiring Hermes software by PK.

They allegedly acted to the detriment of the public interest and caused significant material damage to the State Treasury in the amount of over PLN 12 million.

Main photo source: TVN24

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