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Justice Fund scandal. The deputy minister entered the ministry and “felt terrified”

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– Nothing I had heard or read before could have prepared me for what I found in the Department of the Justice Fund – said Deputy Minister of Justice Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz. She admitted that when she learned about the behind-the-scenes of his actions, she felt “horror”. She talked about missing documents, the resignation of the department director and the departure of other employees. In her opinion, the Justice Fund “is the antithesis of a good and just state.”

Lawyer dealing with human rightsDeputy Minister of Justice Zuzanna Rudzińska-Bluszcz spoke on Tuesday during PO rally at Castle Square in Warsaw. She talked about the Justice Fund, which she has been dealing with since she joined the ministry. Recently, new findings have come to light regarding the scandal surrounding the Fund, relating to the period when he was in power PIS. Tapes on which people responsible for managing the Fund were allegedly recorded are also published.

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THE JUSTICE FUND HERE >>>

Rudzińska-Bluszcz said that she started working at the Ministry of Justice six months ago. – When I received this offer, I felt a thrill. I thought it would be fascinating to be able to participate in the creation of a country. I was also happy to take over the Justice Fund, she said.

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She pointed out that “The Justice Fund was created to help people.” – This amounts to several hundred million zlotys annually, which is to be transferred mainly through social organizations to people in difficult situations. People who are victims of crime, prisoners who leave prisons so that they can return to society, she emphasized.

– I started my new job on December 13, full of hope. I thought that for me the Justice Fund was the quintessence of what a state should be. That is, a state that recognizes people in difficult situations, which, in cooperation with social organizations, distributes funds in a transparent and open way, without political colors and without any ideology – she continued.

“First I felt disbelief, then I felt horror”

The deputy minister said that she “remembers those first weeks at the Ministry of Justice well.” – It was a gray Polish December. It was then that I learned the details of how the Justice Fund operated from the inside, she recalled.

– Previously, I knew everything that we gathered here: that there were some irregularities, accusations of cronyism, and a lack of procedures. However, nothing I had heard or read before could prepare me for what I found in the Department of the Justice Fund, she admitted.

She indicated that “there were missing documents, missing information.” – The director of the department left the day before we arrived. Other employees also resigned or went on long-term layoffs. Some of them were later detained in the course of ongoing criminal proceedings, she said.

– When learning about the operation of the Justice Fund, I first felt disbelief, and then I felt horror – she said. Why? Because the principles on which the Justice Fund operated were beyond my understanding. They were beyond my mind as a citizen, a lawyer, and a person who cares about building trust in public institutions, she said.

In her opinion, “the Justice Fund is a world turned upside down, it is the antithesis of a good and just state that is supposed to serve people.” – I couldn't believe that the rules according to which the Justice Fund operated were the rules developed in the ministry, and in the Ministry of Justice in an important place European Union country – she added.

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

“Three principles” of the Justice Fund

She also presented “three principles that guided the Justice Fund.” The first is – as she said – “complete freedom in spending public funds”.

– The lack of competition committee regulations served this purpose. This was the purpose of internal audits that were postponed from year to year and were not held for the next five years. This was achieved by ignoring the objections raised by the members of the competition committees, she said.

– The second principle: creating law not for the general public, but for one's own interests – continued Rudzińska-Bluszcz. In this context, she pointed to paragraph 11 in the regulation on the Justice Fund. – It not only allowed money to be given without competition, but actually decided that the only person who decides whether to award our public money is the Minister of Justice. Without any competition committee, without justification, without an appeal procedure. It is unimaginable that such a provision could exist in Polish law, she said. She emphasized that “here is a crisis of the rule of law in practice.”

Internal analysis of spending from the Justice Fund. "The firefighters showed no gratitude"

Internal analysis of spending from the Justice Fund. “Firefighters showed no gratitude”Jakub Sobieniowski/Fakty TVN

– Moreover, in 2017 a certain legal trick was used, as the objectives of the Justice Fund were extended. Added crime prevention. And this goal was the reason why the Fund ceased to be a fund for people in need, and became a fund for politicians in campaigns, she said.

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– The third and last principle on which the Justice Fund operated: lack of transparency and transparency of operations – she said.

– When I came to the ministry, I asked: Please tell me where are the white gaps when it comes to helping crime victims? How can we further strengthen assistance for people leaving prison to help them even more? – said Rudzińska-Bluszcz.

She added that they could not provide her with an answer because “no one carried out a diagnosis or needs analysis.” – No one has conducted any audit of these needs. The funds were simply spent at discretion, according to whim, she emphasized.

Main photo source: PAP/Paweł Supernak



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