The auditors of the Supreme Audit Office presented on Thursday the results of the audit concerning the Justice Fund, which reports to the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro. They stated that the total value of funds spent “contrary to the regulations, intentionally, wastefully or unreliably amounted to over PLN 280 million”. Therefore, the opposition demands the resignation of Zbigniew Ziobro.
One of the audit findings is that only 34 percent of the Justice Fund was dedicated to helping crime victims. Examples include the organization of conferences, where funds for renting the room amounted to PLN 250,000, for catering – 250,000, and for a banquet – 200,000 PLN.
It was also mentioned that the actions of the minister of justice “resulted in wasteful spending of public funds, fostered the creation of corruption-generating mechanisms.”
It was stated that “the total value of the financial effects of the controls, that is the amounts of funds disbursed in violation of the regulations, unintentionally, wastefully and unreliably, amounted to over PLN 280 million”.
Former head of the Supreme Audit Office: a fund for their own
The results of the inspection were commented by the chairman of the legislative committee, senator and former head of the Supreme Audit Office, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. He pointed out that the audit was carried out by NIK officials, not the president himself. He said the control was “crushing”.
– When three years ago, as the president of the Supreme Audit Office, I announced the results of an audit of the Justice Fund for the first time, it was then that we found out that the law had been broken – he recalled.
He recalled that Ziobro was already the minister of justice at that time. – Then we said: the law has been broken. The Justice Fund, which was supposed to help victims of crimes and people who leave prison or correctional facilities, so that they do not return to the road of crime, was already spent on other purposes, for example PLN 25 million for the Central Anticorruption Bureau for the purchase of a system of wiretapping citizens – he said further Kwiatkowski.
The senator mentioned that he was counting on changes in this matter. – Yes, there are changes. For worse. After three years, we know that it is still a fund for its own, discretionary, not for those in need and distributed according to political, not substantive criteria, he concluded.
Kwiatkowski later announced at a conference in the upper house that “today a very strong voice must come out of the Polish Senate”. – We demand an immediate change, not only in the law, what we are going to work on, but also in the Justice Fund, so that it would not be like NIK said that PLN 280 million was spent wastefully – he said.
– We also expect an immediate change in the practice of the Fund’s operation. It is the president of the Council of Ministers who is responsible for it today, because he received information from the Supreme Audit Office on this matter – he pointed out. – The Justice Fund must be fair, it must be for citizens, not for the political activists of PiS or Solidarna Polska – he added.
Kwiatkowski argued that in this matter it is necessary to immediately appoint a social council, which will control every expenditure of the Justice Fund on an ongoing basis.
KO deputies want Ziobro’s resignation. “He infected the Polish state with a cancer of corruption”
Due to the irregularities revealed by the NIK auditors, Ziobro’s resignation was demanded by the members of the Civic Coalition.
Gabriela Lenartowicz, MP, assessed that the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) revealed “a pyramid of lawlessness headed by the Minister of Justice”. – We see how the state is appropriated and de facto privatized for the benefit of party officials, their families and friends. We saw how the Law and Justice, in this case allowed Solidarity Poland to do so, created a strictly party fund, which is an election fund, a fund for the promotion of party activists and representatives of the authorities – she said.
MP Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz recalled that the purpose of the Justice Fund is to help crime victims, and meanwhile – as she stated – it serves the “milking” of the state, similarly to State Treasury companies. – Only 34 percent of the general budget (Fund) went to crime victims, 4 percent to post-penitentiary aid, and as much as 60 portions. funds went to other tasks – she calculated.
Further, referring to the findings of the Supreme Audit Office, she said that the funds were allocated, among others, to the analysis of memes, a review of fantasy literature, pre-marriage courses and a spot promoting the institution of marriage. – But, what is most disgusting in all of this, the money went to foundations and institutions related to the politicians of Solidarity Poland or to promote the views of the Minister of Justice Ziobra himself – she added.
In her opinion, the Justice Fund became “a fund of injustice and wickedness during the rule of PiS”. – How else to name a fund that in fact robbed victims of crime: domestic violence, pedophilia from the state they owed them? asked the deputy.
Deputy Arkadiusz Myrcha assessed that “Minister Ziobro, with the consent of PiS chairman Jarosław Kaczyński and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, infected the Polish state with a cancer of corruption and full privatization of public life.” – The dismissal of Minister Ziobro should take place today, immediately. Without such a tough, iron reaction from the Prime Minister, we will have a clear signal that there is consent to robbing citizens, he said.
The politician did not rule out a notification to the prosecutor’s office in connection with the findings of the Supreme Chamber of Control. The KO club is also considering submitting a request to the Sejm for information from the government on irregularities in the Justice Fund.
“Promotion, election fund”
PSL politicians, Krzysztof Paszyk and Dariusz Klimczak, also referred to the matter in the Sejm.
Paszyk assessed that the politicians of Solidarity Poland and its leader “made a party fund out of the Justice Fund”. And this deputy pointed out that the funds from it were used only to a small extent to help victims of crime or to prevent them. He said that it was a scandal, and that the matter needed to be thoroughly checked when PiS would no longer be in power.
Klimczak said that it was impossible to expect reliable action from the prosecutor’s office subordinate to Ziobro to punish the guilty, and the Justice Fund – which in his opinion was “a promotion fund, Ziobro’s election and party fund” – will be taken care of by the services in the next parliamentary term.
He assessed that the findings of the Supreme Audit Office constitute the basis for the dismissal of Ziobro. He also pointed out that this would not be possible under the PiS government.
Reportage “In Black and White: Political fund
Main photo source: PAP / Mateusz Marek