The National Prosecutor’s Office sent a request to the court to extend the pre-trial detention of Włodzimierz Karpiński, suspected of corruption, but did not accept the defense attorney’s request to revoke this preventive measure, considering it premature. The former secretary of Warsaw and minister of treasury in the PO-PSL government is a suspect in the “garbage scandal”. In recent days, he decided to take up the mandate of an MEP after another MEP became vacant.
Karpiński has been in custody since February. He was arrested in connection with the so-called garbage scandal. He was charged with corruption related to concluding contracts for waste management in Warsaw. In September this year The Court of Appeal in Katowice decided that Karpiński will remain in custody at least until November 24. The prosecutor’s office wants to extend the application of this preventive measure.
A few days ago, Karpiński’s defense attorney announced that his client expressed his consent to take up the mandate of MEP and has already sent a letter to the Speaker of the Sejm with a statement on this matter. The politician is to take the place in the European Parliament after Krzysztof Hetman, who was elected as a member of the Sejm in the last elections.
“The fear of procedural fraud on the part of Włodzimierz K. is extremely strong
Information about the submission of an application to extend detention was provided on Friday by the Press Department of the National Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office justifies it by pointing out the high probability of the suspect committing the offense he is accused of. “The premise for the need to apply a preventive measure in the form of pre-trial detention is the real fear of fraud, which was previously invoked by the Court of Appeal in Katowice, extending the pre-trial detention and directly indicating that the fear of procedural fraud on the part of Włodzimierz K. is extremely strong, as the his taking actions that constitute obstruction of the investigation,” the National Prosecutor’s Office reported.
Another reason for applying pre-trial detention is the severe penalty facing the suspect – up to 12 years’ imprisonment, which was also the basis indicated by the courts in this case – added the PK.
Referring to the information about W. Karpiński’s intention to take up the mandate of MEP, the prosecutor’s office pointed out that in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Code, the Marshal of the Sejm decides on filling the mandate, while the decision of the Marshal of the Sejm is subject to publication in the Official Journal of the Republic of Poland “Monitor Polski”. “Therefore, the prosecutor did not accept the request to revoke the provisional arrest submitted by Włodzimierz K.’s defense lawyer, considering it to be at least premature,” the PK Press Department said.
Karpiński ran in the 2019 European Parliament elections from the list of the European Coalition. However, he did not win a mandate as an MEP. Krzysztof Hetman, who has just won a seat in the Polish Sejm, became an MEP from this list. Joanna Mucha should have gone to the European Parliament under Hetman, but she was also elected as a member of the Polish Parliament. The next in line to become an MEP would be Riad Haidar, but the politician died in May this year. Ultimately, the mandate of MEP goes to the next candidate – Karpiński.
Karpiński sent a letter to the Speaker of the Sejm declaring that he was taking up the mandate. Attorney Michał Królikowski noted on Thursday in a conversation with an RMF journalist that his client’s decision was not an escape from justice. He assured that his client, released from custody after being granted immunity, would not avoid investigators. The only thing that will change is that he will be responsible on a free foot. Mec. Królikowski claims that the charges brought against his client have weak grounds and he believes that there are no reasons to detain him. On Thursday, he announced to the media that he had submitted a request to the prosecutor’s office to release his arrest.
An open letter regarding taking up the mandate of an MEP and about the ongoing investigation was published on Wednesday by Karpiński’s sons. As they wrote, their father taking up the mandate is currently the only way “to put an end to the absurd, unjustified and devastating detention imposed on him at the request of the National Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, which has been going on for over 8 months.” They expressed the belief that their father would accept the mandate also to speak at the EP forum about the application and implementation of legal provisions in Poland. In their opinion, the father is a victim of a “politically motivated campaign.”
The former minister was detained on February 27 br. at the request of the Silesian department of the National Prosecutor’s Office. Earlier, during the same investigation, the former head of Employers of Poland, Rafał Baniak, who served as Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Treasury in 2011-2015, was detained, who was also arrested after hearing the allegations at the request of the prosecutor (both agreed to provide their names).
Rafał Baniak left prison on August 29 due to his health condition. The prosecutor’s office changed this most severe preventive measure to a property bail in the amount of one million zlotys, police supervision and a ban on leaving the country, justifying it with the premises of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Karpiński was charged with corruption, committed jointly and in consultation with other people, including Baniak, which involved demanding a financial benefit of 2.5% from the president of one of the companies. the value of public procurement obtained from the Municipal Purification Company in Warsaw in exchange for changing the specifications of the essential terms of public procurement.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the value of the orders was almost PLN 600 million. The allegations include Karpiński accepting an amount of almost PLN 5 million. According to the findings of the investigation, corruption acts took place from April 2020 to December 2022 in Warsaw. Karpiński was then the president of the Municipal Purification Company in the Capital City of Warsaw, and then the secretary of the Capital City of Warsaw.
According to the prosecutor’s office, from August 2020 to January 2023, there was corruption involving the provision of financial benefits of great value in connection with concluding waste management contracts in Warsaw. “Representatives of one of the capital groups interested in participating in waste processing entered into an agreement with Rafał B. As a result of corruption arrangements, the interested companies of the capital group obtained significant orders from the MPO in Warsaw. Then, in 2021-2022, these companies managed waste from the Capital City Warsaw obtained orders from MPO Warszawa for a total amount of almost PLN 600 million,” PK reported.
As investigators added, obtaining these orders was possible thanks to a proposal submitted by Baniak – former president of the management board of Employers of Poland. “The findings of the investigation show that Rafał B., in exchange for enabling public procurement from the Municipal Cleaning Company of the Capital City of Warsaw, demanded a 5% bribe from company representatives on the value of these orders. For this purpose, Rafał B. and the persons managing the capital group , i.e. Artur P. and Wojciech S. created a mechanism enabling the withdrawal of multi-million amounts intended for financial benefits,” the prosecutor’s office informed
Main photo source: Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP