Former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski (R) and former Deputy Minister Maciej Wasik (L) have just lost their parliamentary seats and face jail despite having been paprdoned by the President back in 2015 EPA-EFE/Tomasz Gzell


Ex-Polish ministers face jail as Tusk’s Government ignores President’s pardon


Two Polish MPs who served as ministers in the previous Conservative PiS government have lost their seats and face jail time after the Speaker of Parliament accepted a court ruling.

That came despite the fact both had been pardoned by Polish President Andrzej Duda for the offences they had been charged with.

Mariusz Kamiński, who served as interior minister in Poland’s former government and one of his deputy ministers Maciej Wąsik, were handed two-year prison sentences on December 20 for their actions during an investigation into a corruption scandal. Both have also been banned from holding public office.

The ruling followed a long-running and controversial process that first saw the pair pardoned by Duda. That decision was then ruled invalid by the Polish Supreme Court, paving the way for the latest convictions.

That came despite the fact that Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, or court, has in the past ruled that a presidential pardon cannot be disputed

The issue in question dates back to the period from 2005 to 2007, when PiS was in power. At that time, it appointed Kamiński as head of the Central Anti-corruption Bureau (CBA).

Kamiński and three of his subordinates were later charged with exceeding their powers in an investigation into a corruption scandal involving a land deal that had led to the resignation of then-deputy prime minister Andrzej Lepper.

In 2015, the four CBA officials were found guilty by a court in Warsaw, with Kamiński sentenced to three years in prison and given a 10-year ban from holding public office. He and the others maintained their innocence and appealed against the convictions.

Before those appeals could be heard, Duda, a PiS ally, decided to issue presidential pardons to all four in November 2015. He did so the day after Kamiński had been appointed security minister in what was then a new PiS-led government.

The Supreme Court in June this year ruled that the pardons did not override the need to complete the due process of law. That decision was subsequently successfully challenged in the Constitutional court.

Following that, the cases were heard once more in the common courts and the two-year prison sentences were again confirmed.

The Speaker of Parliament Szymon Hołownia has now ruled that the two individuals are also debarred from holding public office and must leave Parliament.

Duda has written to Hołownia to insist that his original pardons are still valid and that the two MPs should not be removed from Parliament or jailed.

Presidential minister Malgorzata Paprocka said: “In the opinion of the President’s Office, Kaminski and Wasik have been pardoned, their pardon is valid and has still a binding legal effect,” adding that “the Supreme Court has no right to question the President’s pardoning prerogatives”.

Kamiński and Wąsik now face the likelihood of prison, which will inevitably lead to accusations that the newly installed Government is ignoring the President’s decision and putting its “political opponents” in jail.

In other matters, Duda has also slammed the now-ruling majority for its takeover of public media. That has seen the management of State TV broadcaster TVP, radio and the press agency removed and some TVP channels taken off air, with the President labelling such actions “lawless anarchy”.

He also called it “unconstitutional” as he said it was in contravention to existing legislation on the management of public media and decisions of the Constitutional court.