NIK: Czarnek illegally awarded PLN 6 million. And this is not the only problem with the villa plus
The Supreme Audit Office found that the Minister of Education and Science illegally awarded PLN 6 million in the program we called villa plus. In grant competitions, he distributed money “unreliably”, to organizations not entitled to participate in competitions, foundations without experience, despite conflicts of interest and negative assessments of experts whom he appointed. And paid them nearly a million zlotys. MEiN paid over PLN 3 million to one organization twice by mistake caused by … “stress of officials”.
While preparing the annual “Analysis of the implementation of the state budget and monetary policy assumptions”, NIK also looked at the grant programs of the Minister of Education, Przemysław Czarnek, which we have been describing since November 2022.
It looked closely and found “significant irregularities in the granting of subsidies” and “breach of the principle of transparency of public finances”. She calculated, for example, that the minister Czarnek awarded PLN 84.9 million in subsidies – nearly half of all funds – to foundations and organizations whose applications “were not recommended by the Advisory Teams”. That is, despite the negative assessments of experts appointed by the Ministry of National Education and Science, these entities were so close and dear to the minister (or other politicians of the ruling camp) that they received considerable money.
AND PLN 6 million of subsidies – as the auditors of the Chamber found – the minister simply paid out illegally, contrary to the conditions of the competitions that he had previously defined – being a habilitated doctor of law and having the entire expert base of the ministry at your disposal.
This is one of several illegal practices and budget and accounting charades in various ministries that have made “Supreme Chamber of Control evaluates the directions of changes in the public finance system negatively, reads the analysis submitted by the Supreme Chamber of Control to the Sejm on June 7. It has been accompanied by an opinion on the basis of which the government is discharged every year.
And for the first time in the history of the Third Republic of Poland, the Chamber’s college did not express a positive opinion on the execution of the state budget.
NIK instead stated that the PiS government runs the state’s economy “to a large extent outside the state budget and disregarding the rigors inherent in this budget”. And “the budget act (…) ceases to function as the basic act of managing state finances”.
The list of objections to Minister Czarnek is long and largely confirms the findings of our investigation into villa plus and other ministerial programs. What does it contain and who will have to return millions of zlotys? And what about the villa of the Freedom and Democracy Foundation founded by Michał Dworczyk?
NIK shares the doubts
On January 31, we described how the Minister of Education distributed PLN 40 million for the purchase or renovation of real estate by non-governmental organizations. We called the program “Development of the infrastructural potential of entities supporting the education system” villa plus.
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