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Orlen – Lotos, merger. Supreme Chamber of Control. Letter from Marian Banaś. Orlen “intimidates the auditors” of the Supreme Audit Office

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The plenipotentiaries of PKN Orlen, despite repeated attempts, prevent the audit of the Supreme Audit Office, wrote the President of the Supreme Audit Office Marian Banaś in a letter addressed to the Marshal of the Sejm. He added that the auditors do not have access to, among other things, contracts regarding the sale of parts of Lotos, according to the letter of the head of the Supreme Audit Office, shown in social media by MP Tomasz Trela. Banaś wants Elżbieta Witek to ask Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to intervene.

The deputy head of the Left Club, Tomasz Trela, posted a scan of the letter sent by the president of the Supreme Audit Office on Twitter Marian Banas addressed to the Speaker of the Sejm Elizabeth Witek. The document is dated December 29 last year. Its content shows that it has been forwarded to all parliamentary clubs and circles.

Banaś indicated in the letter that NIK encounters numerous problems in its activity related to the control of state-owned companies, “they are primarily associated with PKN Orlen SA, and also with the Orlen Foundation”. “Despite repeated attempts to inspect the above-mentioned company, its proxies refused the auditors of the Supreme Audit Office the opportunity to start inspection activities, stressing that PKN Orlen SA is not subject to the inspection of the Supreme Audit Office” – we read in the document.

Notifications to the prosecutor’s office

As we read, the president of NIK informed in it that due to the refusal to submit to the inspection, the Chamber sent notifications “of suspicion of committing a crime” to the prosecutor’s office on May 25, June 1 and June 22, 2022.

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Banaś added that the prosecutor’s office combined these notifications and on September 15 last year issued a decision “refusal to initiate an investigation”.

At the same time, as the head of the NIK said, “PKN Orlen SA filed a notification against the Supreme Audit Office, as a result of which the law enforcement authorities summoned 12 auditors involved in the above inspections as witnesses.”

“The summons that are sent to the Supreme Audit Office in this case show that they concern the investigation conducted under reference number 3041-1 Ds.88.2022 on the alleged abuse of powers by the employees of the Supreme Audit Office consisting in attempting to conduct an inspection at PKN Orlen and Others were supposed to act to the detriment of private interest, i.e. an act under Article 231(1) of the Penal Code,” we read in the quoted letter.

READ: This is how Poland lost control of the refinery in Gdańsk

Banaś: NIK auditors do not have access to contracts for the sale of parts of Lotos

As Banaś wrote, NIK is currently carrying out an audit covering all activities in the field of improving fuel safety in the oil sector. He added that the Ministry of State Assets, the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy and PKN Orlen are examining issues related to the merger of PKN Orlen with Lotos and PGNiG.

“The key difficulties in carrying out the inspection, mainly due to the inability to conduct inspection activities at PKN Orlen, include: unavailability for NIK auditors of contracts concluded with the buyers of the sold assets of Grupa Lotos (including Aramco Overseas Company BV, MOL Group, Envien Group and Unimot SA ), as well as the lack of source documentation produced in the company and commissioned by PKN Orlen to external advisors (Citi Global Group, EY and Pekao IB) for the purposes of the consolidation process, the president of the Supreme Audit Office indicated in the letter.

The President of NIK wants the Prime Minister’s intervention

“Due to the fact that PKN Orlen SA and the Orlen Foundation put themselves above the law and illegally use law enforcement authorities to intimidate NIK auditors in the course of their activities (…) I kindly ask you to submit a request to the Prime Minister for issuing a report to the minister reporting to you (and further to the authorities of the controlled entities) binding instructions aimed at making the requested documents available to the Supreme Audit Office,” Banaś, the Marshal of the Sejm, wrote in a published letter.

He explained that the matter is “extremely urgent”, inter alia, in connection with the letter of five combined Senate committees of December 16 last year, addressed to the President of the Supreme Audit Office for an ad hoc inspection in the field of “examination of the correctness of the negotiation process, changes to the conditions and the final shape of the merger of PKN Orlen SA and Lotos SA, along with the sale of the existing assets of both companies, with particular emphasis on the legality of the above-mentioned activities.

READ: Questions to representatives of Orlen about the provisions of the draft agreement with the Saudis. “You are hurting Polish interests a lot”

“In this state of affairs – referring to the control function of the Sejm – I am asking the Marshal to provide all assistance in the presented case – wrote the president of the Supreme Audit Office.

We contacted PKN Orlen with questions regarding the content of the scanned letter of the head of NIK. Until the publication of the text, we have not received a response.

Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka/PAP

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