On Wednesday, at a conference in the Supreme Audit Office, information on the audit of the Justice Fund was presented. Onet found out about the details of the report. According to the website, the document draws attention to “numerous cases of wasteful use of public funds or corruption-generating mechanisms”.
A conference on the case was held at the Supreme Audit Office on Wednesday control of the Justice Fund. The acting director of the public order and safety department of the NIK, Michał Jędrzejczyk, said at a press conference that “due to the scale of the identified serious irregularities,” the president of the NIK asked the prime minister and deputy prime minister to take “urgent corrective measures”, and demanded steps from the head of the CBA to explanation of detected irregularities, “including, in particular, the revealed mechanisms of corruption”.
He announced that the detailed results of the control of the Justice Fund would be disclosed to the public “immediately after receiving the position” of the Minister of Justice and information about the actions taken by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the CBA.
The NIK audit took place in the second half of 2020
Onet portal reached the main findings of the control, which became the field of a sharp clash between the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobra and the head of the Supreme Audit Office, Marian Banas. As it was written, the NIK audit took place in the second half of 2020, after suspicions appeared that Ziobro was financing his political activities with money.
As the portal wrote, “the money often went to organizations close to Ziobro in terms of worldview, such as the church Caritas or the Lux Veritatis foundation of Father Tadeusz Rydzyk”.
In the NIK report on “corruption-generating mechanisms”
In the report that Onet received, it was written that “NIK negatively assessed the actions of the Minister of Justice in ensuring the proper legal and organizational conditions for the functioning of the Justice Fund, as well as the use of public funds at its disposal”.
Onet noted that the phrase “corruption-generating mechanisms” appears in the report many times. The portal cites a fragment of the report in which such an accusation is made directly against the management of the Ministry of Justice: “Actions of the administrator [czyli Zbigniewa Ziobry – red.] and a significant part of the beneficiaries of subsidy agreements, resulted in wasteful and unintentional spending of public funds, and also fostered the emergence of corruption-generating mechanisms in the case of people making decisions in the field of spending and accounting for the Fund’s resources. “
“According to the Supreme Audit Office, these ‘corruption-generating mechanisms’ operating in the Justice Fund are freedom in making decisions, lack of transparency and poor control over expenses,” Onet reported.
According to the report, the negative assessment of the Supreme Audit Office mainly concerns the tasks commissioned by Ziobro after the changes in 2017, when money from the Justice Fund began to flow to institutions and organizations that have little to do with caring for crime victims.
According to the Supreme Audit Office, the slogan “counteracting the causes of crime” is a lockpick to finance activities inconsistent with the objectives of the Justice Fund. According to the report, the competitions in this area were unreliable. In addition, according to the Supreme Audit Office, Ziobro abused the procedure that he himself introduced by the regulation – he gave some institutions and organizations the Fund’s money at his own discretion, without announcing the call for applications. According to NIK, Ziobro had legal opinions that warned him against it. He ordered them himself, and the ministry paid for them.
Onet wrote that out of the 16 contracts examined, which were to be used to “counteract crime”, NIK found 13 contracts worth over PLN 63 million to be pointless and uneconomical. In a word – according to the Supreme Audit Office, Ziobro spent the money illegally and it had nothing to do with “preventing crime”.
Report on “numerous cases of wasteful use of public funds”
Onet announced that the Supreme Audit Office positively evaluates Ziobra’s flagship project – the project of building a nationwide network of aid centers for victims. But, according to the report, the positive effects were largely offset by “numerous cases of wasteful use of public funds, corruption-generating mechanisms and insufficient supervision by the Administrator. [czyli Ziobry] on the implementation of subsidy agreements and the lack of immediate response to disclosed irregularities in the activities of individual contractors “.
The study of eight grant agreements showed that in as many as six cases, the tasks of assisting victims were entrusted to organizations that had no preparation, including entities established just before the announcement of competitions, which had no experience and employed people only during the implementation of the contracts. As the inspection showed, in Radom and the neighboring towns, the Fund was used to finance assistance to people who were not actually victims of a crime.
According to Onet, pathology also occurred in Opole and Tychy. In 2018, contracts worth nine million zlotys for the operation of aid points for victims were given to the Ex Bono Foundation, personally associated with the politicians of Ziobra’s Solidarity Poland. The organization quickly abandoned its charges.
“The above had serious consequences for the situation of victims of the crime, which in the case of the Opolskie Voivodeship significantly worsened (due to the sudden discontinuation of assistance by the Ex Bono Foundation), and even created a direct threat to the life and health of some aid beneficiaries from the Śląskie Voivodeship” – reports the Supreme Audit Office.
In the report, the auditors suggest that Ziobro was in no rush to act against the Ex Bono Foundation when irregularities were revealed. “Despite the failure of this entity to comply with the agreement on running a public aid center (victim assistance center – ed.) In Opole (resulting in its early termination in June 2019), the administrator (Ziobro – ed.) Did not carry out an inspection at the place of execution of the second implemented by this entity of the contract (covering assistance to the victims in the Silesian Voivodeship). The inspection of the Foundation was initiated only in September 2020, after the NIK had provided information about the risk of significant damage to property and was not completed by June 4, 2021. “
NIK on the possible setting of contests
According to Onet, the report describes situations where Ziobro’s people discretionally changed the results of subsidy procedures. “The course of work and the recommendations of the commission were of limited importance due to the fact that the Administrator (Ziobro – ed.) Made undocumented, arbitrary decisions on the cancellation of competitions or the refusal to award subsidies to certain entities indicated by the competition committees, despite the fact that they received a high rating” – it follows from the content of the report.
According to the portal, “there is also a suggestion to set up subsidy contests”. “These are competitions with a very short deadline for submitting applications, which excluded many organizations that did not manage to complete the documents” – added.
Onet reported that in one of the competitions in 2018 for “crime prevention” only the Foundation of the National Day of Life Celebration Committee managed to submit an offer, which had no experience in helping victims or “preventing crime” because it dealt with the fight against abortion. About PLN 25 million went to it.
The Foundation was to provide schools with reflective vests and educational materials, but the operation was not consulted with the police, which has the greatest experience in educational campaigns. NIK believes that the deadline for submitting applications in this competition was “impossible to meet” – the portal said.
In the report on money for the promotion of Solidarity Poland
According to Onet, the auditors also accuse Ziobro of using money from the Fund to promote himself and the political demands of his party. It is an advertising campaign which, according to the Ministry of Justice, was to promote the Justice Fund so that crime victims would know that they could get help. However, NIK believes that the scope of this promotion significantly exceeded the recognition of the Fund.
“In the case of four out of 12 contracts covered by the study, the programs and publications produced within them did not serve to educate potential beneficiaries, but to promote the activities and concepts of the Minister of Justice in areas such as, for example, Poland’s relations with the institutions of the European Union, or the reform of the justice system” – it follows from the report. As Onet reported, this means that Ziobro was to finance in this way the politics of his party, built on the conflict with the European Union and changes in the judiciary.
The portal wrote that all this led to a situation that, according to the calculations of the Supreme Audit Office, out of nearly PLN 700 million in subsidies granted from the Fund’s resources in the period covered by the audit, only every third zloty (PLN 228.5 million) was allocated to assistance provided directly to crime victims. Only 4 percent went to help those leaving prison and juvenile detention centers. money (PLN 24 million). The rest, according to the Supreme Audit Office, was to be spent by Ziobro on activities that had little to do with helping the victims.
Statement by the Ministry of Justice
Onet asked the Ministry of Justice to send the reservations that the Ministry of Justice submitted to the NIK report. As the editorial office wrote, she did not receive a reply, but only received a statement in which the Ministry of Justice completely rejected the results of the NIK audit, claiming that it was revenge for the prosecutor’s request to waive Marian Banas’ immunity and the announcement of accusations of hiding assets and money laundering ( the accusations have already been heard by his son and daughter-in-law).
“The Fund fully implements its statutory goals and, contrary to the insinuations that victims of crime were left without aid, the Fund has already allocated several hundred million zlotys for such aid. It is thanks to the Fund that the first ever nationwide network of assistance with a special 24-hour hotline was established. There are already about 350 such points – they are in almost every district – and more are being created. – legal, psychological, medical and rehabilitation. It is also material support tailored to specific needs, says Ziobra’s ministry in a statement sent to Onet.
“This year, the Supreme Audit Office completely rejected the explanations of the Ministry of Justice submitted on one hundred pages for the post-audit statement. The Ministry pointed to false information contained in the statement, corrected the contradictory data used by the auditors and explained their misinterpretations of the law. officials of the Chamber, and earlier the president of the Supreme Chamber of Control and his son – >> social advisers> sentences
Main photo source: TVN24