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Justice Fund scandal. New notification to the prosecutor's office

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The prosecutor's office in Warsaw and Prosecutor General Adam Bodnar received a new notification in connection with the Justice Fund scandal. KO senator Krzysztof Kwiatkowski pointed out that the Ministry of Justice incorrectly “appeared a new legal basis” that allowed grants to be awarded without competition. According to the senator, the changes should be introduced by regulation of the entire Council of Ministers, and not by one minister. It also lists a number of other irregularities.

In addition to the District Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, Senator KO also sent a notice in this case to the Prosecutor General Adam Bodnar.

The notification concerns the possibility of committing a crime involving the abuse of powers or failure to fulfill duties by a public official acting to the detriment of the public interest by spending the Justice Fund funds contrary to applicable law in the period 2017-2023 – according to a letter to the prosecutor's office, cited by PAP.

See also: Kwiatkowski: I am reporting to the prosecutor's office in connection with the Justice Fund

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“A new legal basis has appeared”

Kwiatkowski emphasized that his notification covers cases that have not yet appeared in the information of the National Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating irregularities in the spending of money from the Justice Fund. – There is a new legal basis and new regulations, which were also broken in the decisions of the Ministry of Justice – he noted.

This includes: waiving the competition procedure when spending money from the fund on the basis of the regulation on the Justice Fund introduced in 2017. In the opinion of the KO senator, the previous management of the Ministry of Justice violated the then applicable Act on public benefit activities and volunteering, which specified a closed catalog of tasks constituting the sphere of public tasks.

Read also: Additional charges against Father Michał O. and the former deputy director of the Justice Fund

This type of change could happen solely by regulation of the entire Council of Ministers, and not of a single ministerin this case the former head of the Ministry of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro. Only the Council of Ministers could define, by way of a regulation, tasks other than those listed in the Act and belonging to the sphere of public tasks, taking into account, among other things, their particular social usefulness – emphasized Kwiatkowski.

Krzysztof KwiatkowskiTVN24

Read more: The Mraz tapes and the Justice Fund scandal. We summarize previous publications

Errors in Justice Fund competitions

Additionally, in March 2017 – as he noted – the previous management of the Ministry of Justice made changes to the Executive Penal Code. The then amended Art. 43 extended the possibility of spending funds from the Justice Fund not only to help victims, but also to counteract crime. Even though the catalog of possibilities for spending funds from the fund has been expanded, it is still – as Kwiatkowski said – there was a closed catalog of ways of spending the funds collected by the fund.

Moreover, in accordance with the Code of Administrative Procedure, entrusting units not included in the public finance sector with the specified tasks should take place in an open tender procedure. – In this respect, the act clearly indicated that an open competition of offers is required, he emphasized.

Justice Fund scandal. NIK raised the alarm, former government officials claim they knew nothing about itJakub Sobieniowski/Fakty TVN

Kwiatkowski lists irregularities in the Justice Fund

Senator KO also pointed to the mistakes of the previous management of the Ministry of Justice in the procedure for granting support from the Justice Fund, including: no representatives of social organizations on the competition teams. Moreover, the deadline for preparing offers in competitions for financial support for an organization was shortened from 21 to 7 days, which in practice made it impossible for the organization to prepare a good competition application.

See also: New tapes by Mraz and Romanowski. They concern the Profeto Foundation

– Unless the organization was informed in advance about the competition, such as the Profeto Foundation, which submitted a huge application for PLN 100 million on the third day after the competition was announced. This clearly indicates that this entity was informed about both the date of the competition announcement and its rules – Kwiatkowski pointed out.

Investigation into the Justice Fund

The investigation into the spending of funds from the Justice Fund is being conducted by the National Prosecutor's Office, which has so far brought charges against seven people, three of whom have been arrested. The suspects include: former and current officials of the Ministry of Justice, dealing with the fund whose main purpose was and is to help crime victims.

In connection with the investigation in May this year. The Speaker of the Sejm received a request from the Polish Parliament to waive the immunity of the former deputy head of the Ministry of Justice, and currently PiS MP Michał Wosi (Sovereign Poland), among others in connection with his decision to spend PLN 25 million on the purchase of Pegasus software. In addition, the prosecutor's office is preparing further applications to waive the immunity regarding other politicians of Sovereign Poland. According to media reports, they will concern PiS MPs Marcin Romanowski (also former deputy head of the Ministry of Justice) and Dariusz Matecki.

Main photo source: TVN24

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