Former Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro who ws minister 2015-2023 is facing allegations that he misappropriated funds from the JUstice Fund for the benefit of his faction and its alles EPA-EFE/Tomasz Gzell

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Indictments rain down in Poland ahead of European Parliament elections


With less than two weeks to go before the European Parliament elections, the Polish Government is issuing a raft of indictments against officials from the former ruling Conservatives (PiS).

The determination of the administration led by Prime Minister Donald Tusk to pursue PiS-appointed public officials was signalled in Tusk’s election manifesto ahead of last autumn’s Polish national elections.

One such indictment being prepared in Poland’s Parliament is against Adam Glapinski, the head of Poland’s central bank (NBP), for alleged politicisation of the bank and illegal funding of the budget deficit.

That indictment is currently being examined by the Parliament’s legal office.

Perhaps more worrying for the PiS is the likely indictment of the former justice minister in the PiS government, Zbigniew Ziobro, who is seriously ill with cancer. That case relates to alleged revelations from a whistleblower, as well as illicitly recorded tapes, of the alleged misuse of the Justice Fund, a vehicle intended to support victims of crime.

Speaking on public radio on May 27, MP and National Judicial Council member Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, said the recordings allegedly showed that PiS ministers “ordered that grants be steered towards a hospital at which PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński was twice operated on” and she accused Ziobro’s associates of “acting like a mafia”.

Michał Woś, a former minister in the PiS administration and close ally of Ziobro, hit back telling Brussels Signal: “There was nothing illegal in making grants to hospitals … hundreds of such grants were made”.

He also claimed that “the content of the illicit tapes reveals that the deputy minister responsible, Rafał Romanowski, actually said that where politicians are treated should not be a factor in making decisions on the allocation of grants”.

Tusk’s party has also signalled it is setting up a Russian influence commission, having disbanded its predecessor created by the PiS government, to prepare an indictment against former defence minister Antoni Macierewicz for actions that the KO alleges undermined national security.

An investigative parliamentary committee has also submitted an indictment against Jarosław Kaczyński, the PiS leader, and former PM Mateusz Morawiecki.

The committee was tasked with examining the validity of measures taken to prepare for and conduct the 2020 presidential elections in Poland via postal voting, which included directives issued to the Post Office that attracted criticism from the national audit service.

Kaczyński is set to be indicted for allegedly “imposing the policy on the government” and Morawiecki for his alleged breaking of the law in attempting to hold the so-called mail-in ballot.

Both have argued they were acting in the public interest and in line with the Constitution to ensure the presidential election could be held within the time limits envisaged by electoral law.

In the end, the mail-in ballot was scrapped and it was decided to hold the election by traditional means a few weeks later in the same year.

To be enacted, these indictments would have to be accompanied by removal of parliamentary immunity for both Kaczyński and Morawiecki. If the pair are then convicted, they would lose their parliamentary seats and could face being barred from holding public office for 10 years.

In addition, the ruling parliamentary majority made up of Tusk’s KO, the centrist Third Way alliance and the Left Party, is also hoping for two more parliamentary investigative committees which could indict other PiS politicians.

One committee, appointed to investigate irregularities in the issuance of visas, has not found any additional evidence of wrongdoing to that already uncovered by the PiS government. Another, appointed to look into any illicit use of Pegasus software for the surveillance of public figures, has found all instances were sanctioned by judges in accordance with the law.

The Polish PM’s party is also threatening an indictment against Daniel Obajtek, the former CEO of Polish fuel giant Orlen, for allegedly refusing to appear before one of the investigative parliamentary committees unless he was personally served with a warrant.

Thus far, no such summons has been served on Obajtek, leading to jokes in the media about a Polish remake of the 2002 Spielberg comedy movie Catch Me If You Can.

The push for indictments comes as the KO and PiS are neck-and-neck in the latest polls ahead of the European Parliament elections.

The last time Tusk headed a national poll was in 2014: before the EP elections that year. Since then the PiS has topped the polls for all national elections, only losing power in 2023 after opposition parties formed a majority coalition against it.