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Two thousand billboards for 65 million. There is a report to the prosecutor's office

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The State Forests informed the prosecutor's office about the possibility of committing a crime by seven people in connection with the order of two thousand billboards with the intention of placing them in forest areas. The predecessors were ready to spend up to PLN 65 million for this purpose.

As noted by the State Forests, the notification is the result of an audit at the company, and one of the audited topics was a program for the implementation and installation of two thousand billboards in forest areas.

The notification concerns violations of public procurement law, overstatement of the costs of purchasing billboards, unjustified financing of the entire project from the Forest Fund, mismanagement and the potential use of billboards for political campaign purposes.

As specified, the persons mentioned in the notification are people from the management of the State Forests, the Forest Culture Center and the department of the General Directorate of the State Forests supervising the activities of the Forest Culture Center (OKL) in Gołuchów, as well as members of the management board and supervisory board of a company wholly owned by LP “Bieszczady “.

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Read also: 23 million lie in the forest. This is how the State Forests organized a billboard campaign

Billboard in Oborniki near Poznań “Black and white” TVN24

Two thousand billboards for 65 million

The Forests recalled that in the second half of 2022, the then director of the State Forests decided to launch a program with a budget of PLN 65 million, coordinated by OKL. The center entrusted the task of constructing and erecting two thousand structures to the company “Bieszczady” from Ustrzyki Dolne, in which the State Forests hold one hundred percent of shares. There was no need to organize a tender on general terms and a single-source procurement was used.

Guidelines for the State Forests campaign for PLN 65 million Internal documents of LP obtained by a journalist of “Gazeta Wyborcza”

However, as emphasized in the State Forests' announcement, “Bieszczady” did not perform practically any part of the ordered and paid subject of the contract, but entrusted the entire task to two other entities unrelated to the State Forests, paying them for erecting billboards, and commissioned the installation of steel structures to four other companies. As a result, some works were paid twice. This is the subject of a separate notification, the Forests noted.

As the State Forests emphasized, as a result, about 300 structures were built in the forests, but missing documentation and construction defects prevent their legal and safe use, and improper storage of the manufactured elements causes permanent damage.

Notification to the prosecutor's office after the audit

“I would like to emphasize emphatically that it is not the foresters who are responsible for the compromising project. The audit made it possible to formulate a notification to the prosecutor's office against specific people, including members of the Sovereign Poland party. The prosecutor's office and the courts will determine the scope of their responsibility. The only way to heal the situation in the State Forests leads through self-purification,” said Witold Koss, Director General of the State Forests, quoted in the release.

See the material of “Fakty”: The promotional campaign of the State Forests cost several dozen million zlotys. No effects visible

Elements of billboards in the Rabe quarry “Black and white” TVN24

They farm on one quarter of Poland's area

Currently, the forest area in Poland is over 9.2 million hectares, of which over 7.3 million hectares are managed by the State Forests. The State Forests inform on their website that they are the largest organization in the European Union managing forests owned by the State Treasury, managing one quarter of Poland's area.

Cleaning up after predecessors

On January 9, Józef Kubica, Director General of the State Forests, was dismissed. The new head of the company was forester Witold Koss. One of his first decisions was to start a legal and financial audit in all forest districts. The new management of the State Forests (the previous one was politically controlled by Sovereign Poland) decided to look at, among others, competitions, promotional activities and real estate sales organized in previous years.

Main photo source: “Black and white” TVN24

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