The election campaign of Anna Zalewska, former minister of national education, now PiS MEPs, was supposed to be supported at least three times by people accused of robbing Polish Red Cross containers in 2015, writes Onet. Zalewska herself was supposed to know who its donor was – this is how her assistant’s testimony, which Onet refers to in the article about “the second day of the Polish Red Cross scandal”, was to follow.
The District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław determined that politicians and activists who managed the Lower Silesian branch of the Red Cross PIS They took out over three million zlotys from it. The money from the institutions was to be siphoned off, inter alia, by robbing containers and selling clothes in friendly companies and second-hand shops, and the Supra foundation was to be involved in the case, established by a former Law and Justice politician and a network of companies registered for rank-and-file employees of the Polish Red Cross – reports Onet.
Several years ago, the media, including international ones, wrote extensively about the so-called PCK scandal. According to Onet, the indictment against former PiS politicians managing the Lower Silesian branch of the Polish Red Cross has 196 pages.
Financing the campaign, Zalewska’s comment
In the course of the proceedings, the investigators were also supposed to find other information about the scandal – including that some of the stolen funds could later be used to finance the election campaigns of Law and Justice candidates. One of the people whose campaign was to be funded from such a source was to be Anna Zalewska, in 2015-2019 the minister of national education in the government of Beata Szydło and Mateusz Morawieckiand currently a PiS MEP.
Information about the investigation of irregularities in the Lower Silesian branch of the Polish Red Cross appeared at the beginning of 2019. Prosecutors from Wrocław then checked how over a million zlotys were extorted, and how 46 tons of food for the needy had disappeared. At the end of February 2019, “Gazeta Wyborcza” wrote that, according to a witness, “it was distributed during the election campaign of PiS politicians”.
The then minister of education, Anna Zalewska, when asked then on TVN24, “admits the possibility that her election campaigns were powered by money or materials from robbing the Polish Red Cross,” replied that “these are very painful innuendo”.
– It is with great regret that I listen to this kind of innuendo, this whole campaign – Zalewska said then. “I have nothing to do with any scandals,” she assured.
As Onet writes, Bartłomiej Ł.-T., who held the informal position of deputy director in the Lower Silesian branch, was to testify on August 2, 2017 that Jerzy G., the then councilor of the Lower Silesian regional council and one of Anna Zalewska’s closest associates, was to instruct him to transfer Zalewska’s election fund amounting to PLN 7,000 zloty.
“I don’t remember exactly now, but it seems to me that I did it in two transfers. I took the money from the company’s account (here the name of the company set up to withdraw money from the Polish Red Cross), I paid to my account in Idea Bank, which I set up specifically for this purpose Then I made the transfers Instructions to what account, under what title and with the note ‘Anna Zalewska’ I received from Jerzy G. Then I sent the confirmation to the e-mail address of Łukasz Apołenis. [bliski współpracownik Zalewskiej – przyp. red.] from his private e-mail address “- we read in the testimony to which Onet refers. Ł.-T. was supposed to submit a testimony of this content also a year later.
Transfers with the annotation “donation to kand. Anna Zalewska, district No. 2”
As Onet writes, the prosecutor’s office asked the National Electoral Office for access to the election account of Law and Justice from the campaign before the 2015 elections, which was then to confirm the version presented by Ł.-T. According to the author of the article, there were two transfers made by him with the annotation “donation na kand. Anna Zalewska, district no. 2”. The transfer with the same annotation was also to be sent by Jerzy G. – for the amount of five thousand zlotys.
“During the interrogation on November 10, 2017, Apolenis was to say to the investigators: ‘I asked Jerzy G. if he would support her campaign, he agreed (…) I do not remember today the amount I talked to him about, but it could have been within the limits of PLN 10-15 thousand (…) I do not remember who the money came from, from Jerzy G. or Bartłomiej Ł.-T. I did not contact Bartłomiej Ł.-T. on this matter. If there was contact with Ł.-T., which could have happened, but I may not remember exactly, due to the passage of time, it was probably a situation that G. told me that the payment had been made, and according to the information from the Headquarters of this payment There was no and I probably contacted Ł.-T. then, whether he made this payment (…) I do not remember whether Jerzy G. personally made any contribution to Anna Zalewska’s election fund. ‘During the interrogation, Apołenis also admits that Anna Zalewska knew who the money paid to her campaign came from: – ‘I informed Anna Zalewska about what payments made as a contribution to her election fund, we watched payments, generally from various people. Anna Zalewska knew about the arrangements and talks with Jerzy G. regarding support for the election campaign, as we talked about other people who supported her campaign, “writes Onet.
Apołenis was to emphasize that Zalewska did not know Bartłomiej Ł.-T., but later – as we read in the article – he admitted that he had helped with the campaign.
Materials at the headquarters of the Polish Red Cross and the silence of the prosecutor’s office
Jerzy G. was also supposed to make orders for advertising materials for candidates, including Zalewska, for which he was to pay in cash, as reported Onet.
“The materials from the local government campaign in 2014, as well as the parliamentary elections held a year later, are sent to policemen when a month later, on September 26, 2017, they enter the seat of the Lower Silesian branch of the Polish Red Cross with a search warrant,” writes Onet. Among other things, there were to be banners with Zalewska’s name on it.
As Onet points out, despite the questions addressed to the prosecutor’s office, the author of the article did not manage to find out why the prosecutor’s office did not mention the threads “pointing to the possibility of supporting Anna Zalewska’s campaign with money from the crime”. He adds that he has not received an answer to any of the questions, and “Anna Zalewska has not even been questioned on this matter”.
Main photo source: Grzegorz Michałowski / PAP