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Romanowski and Bochenek on new tapes. “It's easier to thin a stick than to make it thicker”

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On Tuesday, further tapes related to the Justice Fund scandal appeared in the media. The Onet portal published a recording of a conversation between former deputy justice minister Marcin Romanowski and PiS MP Rafał Bochenek. The conversation concerns the possibility of financing the purchase of a vehicle for the Volunteer Fire Department from the fund.

Since last week, the media, including tvn24.pl, have been publishing tapes that were recorded over the last two years by Tomasz Mraz – former director of the Justice Fund Department at the Ministry of Justice. They concern the functioning of this particular fund.

READ MORE: The Mraz tapes and the Justice Fund scandal. We summarize previous publications

Mraz is one of the suspects in the investigation into irregularities in the awarding of million-dollar grants from the fund, described as the “key witness” in the case who is “slandering the gangsters.” Zbigniew Ziobro and his support from Sovereign Poland managed the Ministry of Justice and the Justice Fund itself for years.

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New tapes. Bochenek's conversation with Romanowski

On Tuesday, further tapes were published by Onet. It's about conversation PiS MP Rafał Bochenek and former deputy minister of justice Marcin Romanowski. Bochenek, currently a spokesman for Law and Justice, asked Romanowski about the possibility of financing the purchase of a vehicle for the Volunteer Fire Department.

READ MORE: The resort, “money” and “getting out of it”. New recordings about the Justice Fund

According to Onet, the conversation was recorded in 2021 or 2022. “Romanowski did not turn on the loudspeaker mode, so most of the recording consists of the lines he spoke. However, at the very beginning, Bochenek's voice is quite clearly audible, as well as the sentences he speaks,” writes the portal.

Below is a transcript of the conversation quoted by Onet:

Marcin Romanowski: Rafał Bochenek… I'll pick it up quickly. Hello Rafal!

Rafał Bochenek: About the Justice Fund. Do you provide any support through the fund for the Volunteer Fire Department (Voluntary Fire Brigades – ed.)?

Marcin Romanowski: You know what, this year we will be there, but (unintelligible).

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible).

Marcin Romanowski: Yes, you know, unfortunately the funds will probably be more or less the same as last year. Well, that wasn't much. On a national scale it was 10 million, no, so it's not amazing [niezrozumiałe]. That's what it looks like, right? You know what, I'll put it this way. Let people just apply and that's it.

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible).

Marcin Romanowski: You know what, I don't know if we will announce recruitment at all. We will most likely operate on the basis of the current program that is announced. However, even if we announce recruitment [niezrozumiałe] on the whole country, to put it brutally. (unintelligible)

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: Yes. Well, exactly, exactly, exactly.

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: So assembly (financial – ed.) yes? Some?

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: Yes Yes Yes. You know what, just one piece of important information, which is usually a problem during assembly, or can be. Namely, we only give money to public finance units, i.e. to the commune, and the commune must buy this car. And to put it colloquially, all the money from the installation, i.e. from these other sources, must also go to the commune.

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: Yes Yes. The only limitation is that part of the money goes to the Volunteer Fire Department, which operates on an association basis, and part of it goes to the commune. Because it often happens that somewhere, for example at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or from the National Fund for Environmental Protection or the National Fund for Environmental Protection, an individual receives (unintelligible). We can't do this. However, these other entities can do it for both the commune and the Volunteer Fire Department, so if such installation were to take place, it would have to be in this form.

As Onet points out, “the context of the conversation shows that at this point Rafał Bochenek is asking about the amount the commune could apply for.”

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: Yeah, you know… Let me put it this way. Exactly, exactly, exactly.

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: You know, so write a hundred, and at most it's easier to thin the stick than to make it thicker.

Rafał Bochenek: (unintelligible)

Marcin Romanowski: Yes, exactly, exactly. Nothing has changed there. The program is still the same. And we act. Like something. Well, we're in touch. Yes of course. Yes Yes Yes. Well, hold on, hello, hello.

Fire trucks for money from the Justice Fund

During last year's election campaign elections During parliamentary meetings, United Right politicians eagerly visited the Volunteer Fire Department firefighters and participated in the transfer of equipment, including fire trucks, and were happy to take photos. Donations from the funds flowed to those units that were located in the constituencies of United Right politicians.

“The collected information shows that often during official ceremonies for the transfer of equipment or funds and press conferences devoted to them, the guests were politicians from the then leadership of the Ministry of Justice,” the report wrote. Ministry of Justice.

The analysis and assessment of the ministry shows that there is a likelihood of linking funds from the fund to electoral districts where the candidates were, among others, members of the PiS government, mainly from Solidarna Polska (later Sovereign Poland). The Ministry of Justice published an interactive map of the flow of funds from the fund in 2019-2023.

The assumption was that funds from the Justice Fund were to be used to support crime victims and their relatives and to counteract the causes of crime.

See also: Disappearing millions. Neither the priest nor the order will admit it. So who are these transfers for?

As Onet reminds, Rafał Bochenek has repeatedly informed on social media in recent years about donating equipment to firefighters from the Volunteer Fire Department in Małopolska, where he comes from.

READ MORE: Ziobro's people and the Justice Fund scandal. Who is who?

Main photo source: Rafał Guz/PAP

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