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Visa Scandal Committee. Maciej Lisowski did not show up for the hearing. He has a medical certificate until the end of December

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The commission of inquiry into the visa scandal failed to question Maciej Lisowski, president of the employment agency and former assistant to former deputy minister of agriculture Lech Kołakowski. Lisowski presented a medical certificate justifying his absence, which indicated that the questioning would be possible after December 31, 2024. The commission had previously heard testimony from Daniel Obajtek and Paweł Majewski.

Maciej Lisowski was to be the third and last witness testifying that day before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the visa scandal on Tuesday. The testimony was given by the former president of Orlen, Daniel Obajtek and former deputy director of the legal and compliance management office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paweł Majewski. He supervised the visit of the Polish mission in Mumbai in India after consuls refused to issue visas to a group of 83 people posing as filmmakers.

SEE THE REPORT FROM DANIEL OBAJTEK'S HEARING

Lisowski, however, did not appear for the hearing. The committee received a letter from his attorney, in which he presented a medical certificate justifying his absence.

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– This certificate contains information about the inability to appear at the committee meeting with the date that such a hearing will be possible after December 31, 2024. In connection with the above, this absence is excused. This is the end of today's agenda. I am closing the committee meeting – informed its chairman Marek Sowa (KO).

President of the employment agency, Kołakowski's assistant

Lisowski is the president of an employment agency and head of the Lex Nostra foundation. He was also a social assistant to the former deputy minister of agriculture, Lech Kołakowski.

The investigation committee's work revealed that Kołakowski was supposed to have intervened in the matter of visas for people with work permits issued at the request of Lisowski's employment agency. Kołakowski subleased premises from him for PLN 50 per month for a parliamentary office. Lisowski also dealt with Kołakowski's parliamentary affairs.

Former deputy minister Lech Kołakowski told the committee in March that he did not receive any benefits for helping to obtain visas.

Majewski: there were big legal risks there

Majewski was asked about the visit to the facility in Mumbai and the circumstances of the call to carry out these activities.

– I was summoned by Deputy Minister (Piotr) Wawrzyk – he said, adding that the deputy minister had obtained information about irregularities in this facility. Majewski was briefed on the details by the then director of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Jakubowski.

– I tried to ask Minister Wawrzyk if it was about checking procedures, because by profession I am a certified government sector auditor and a project management specialist. The Minister repeated that he simply had a report of irregularities – he reported. – As we know from the testimonies of previous witnesses, it was also a kind of information from a whistleblower about suspected corruption – he added.

Paweł Majewski before the commission on the visa scandalTVN24

He noted that he did not assume a specific area of ​​the visit – which is the first stage of the inspection – and its purpose was to check the procedures in the consulate: administrative, personnel, and also visa. In addition, he received information that was “another warning light when it comes to this consulate” that after 3-4 months one of the “young vice-consuls” was dismissed, and – as he added – it was a very strange situation, because employees leave for posts for 4 years.

Majewski said that for him the issue of the visa package for so-called filmmakers was a side issue. He added that he received information from the director of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there had been a complaint about the activities of consuls in Mumbai, which “presented this problem of filmmakers from Mumbai as very credible”, and that “a serious production and PR agency” was behind the implementation of this film project in Poland, which made the case credible.

He added that for him, “if there are signals of irregularities, focusing on one visa package is a misunderstanding.”

He also said that if a decision was made to issue single-entry visas, passports with such visas were returned and they were taken away, he “does not fully understand” on what basis the consuls considered applications for multiple-entry visas, because no appeal was filed. In his opinion – although he emphasized that he does not know the whole story – if that was the case, then “multiple-entry visas were issued incorrectly.”

He noted that from the sample of documents conducted during the visit “there was no possibility that there was anything wrong with the documents”, i.e. it was not possible to directly prove irregularities or abuses. However, there were visible errors and omissions concerning, for example, the reasons for refusing to issue visas, and “the office did not control the deadlines for appeals” from decisions.

Majewski informed that after the visit, he filed a request for an inspection at the consulate in Mumbai, because he was unable to rule out irregularities. – There were significant legal risks there – he said. – These were not irregularities violating the law, these were deficiencies. These were issues that gave rise to legal risks, which, in the event of the case being referred to the Provincial Administrative Court (WSA – ed.), could have caused the ministry to be in a weak procedural position – he explained.

The Commission wants to contact the Ministry of Science and Higher Education

The committee also adopted evidentiary motions on Tuesday. One of them envisages an urgent request to the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for information on the number of students studying in Poland in 2019-2023, broken down by country of origin. It also concerns information on tuition fees for foreigners and a list of universities where at least 25 percent of students are foreigners.

The committee also wants to obtain information on what conditions a university must meet in order to obtain permission to recruit foreign students. It also wants to know whether the ministry has any “recommendations, considerations” regarding changes in the area of ​​tightening the student visa system, as well as what percentage of foreign students do not start their studies in the second year, broken down by university and nationality.

The next evidence motion envisages an urgent request to the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy for information on the number of work permits issued to foreigners, broken down by voivodeship, in the period relevant to the commission’s work.

The Visa Scandal Investigation Committee is investigating abuses, neglect and omissions in the legalization of the stay of foreigners in Poland in the period from November 12, 2019 to November 20, 2023.

Main image source: TVN24



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