Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lepper denies Rydzyk tip off

Former deputy PM and agriculture minister, Andrzej Lepper, has denied that he was tipped off about a Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) sting operation against him by controversial priest, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk.

Lepper’s remarks were made at a parliamentary investigative committee which is trying to establish whether a former government influenced investigations by the secret services in Poland in 2007 when he was the minister of agriculture. It is alleged that Lepper was tipped off by founder of Radio Maryja, Father Rydzyk, about an investigation by the CBA into a land deal involving the Agriculture Ministry.

“I was not warned by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk nor by Archbishop Slawoj Glodz,” said Lepper.

Relations between Lepper, a former deputy PM in the Law and Justice led coalition government, deposed in elections last year, and Father Rydzyk, aroused the interest of the head of the parliamentary commission, Andrzej Czuma of Civic Platform. Several witnesses have testified before the commission that the two priests could be involved in Lepper’s case.

The leader of the Self-defence party told the commission, Thursday, that he only met with Father Rydzyk after he found out about a planned sting operation against him, not before hand, as has been alleged. He said he did not recall meting with Archbishop Slawoj Glodz at all.

The parliamentary committee is trying to establish whether former state authorities put pressure on Poland’s secret services and used them for political purposes, as had been alleged by the current government. One of the threads of the investigation is connected with a corruption scandal in the former Ministry of Agriculture which led to the collapse of coalition of Law and Justice, Self-defence and the League of the Polish Families.

The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau agents attempted sting operation against the head of the Ministry Lepper failed after somebody tipped the politician off.