Friday, April 10, 2009

Polish Govt. hit by double corruption blow

Waldemar Pawlak, who is leader of the junior partner in the ruling coalition, the Polish Peasants’ Party (PSL), is accused of giving public tenders connected with the Voluntary Fire Brigade, of which he is also president, to friends and members of his own family.

The allegations, which broke at the end of last week, have been vehemently denied by the Deputy PM who said, “I informed the PM about the full transparency of my activities connected with the Voluntary Fire Brigades. Already this year the association’s finances have been inspected by the Supreme Chamber of Control and the Ministry of the Interior and Administration.” He added that he thought the allegations to be a revenge attack against him and those around him for his battles with banks related to currency options.

The Deputy PM, who in a radio interview last year defended nepotism in public life by saying, “One should be glad when children show similar interests to their parents and want to follow in their footsteps,” was joined in his defence this week by fellow members of PSL. They claim the allegations are an attack inspired by PO, which may have wanted to discipline the coalition partner.

But this week PM Tusk said that PSL and PO had “different standards of behaviour in public life” and warned that Pawlak had violated political standards by establishing a business-social arrangement around himself.

He added that the Deputy PM would or could not be disciplined, however, since he was not a member of PO and thus party standards did not apply to him.

The PM was less lenient meanwhile with PO Senator Tomas Misiak who this week was forced to resign his position within the party after allegations emerged that during his time as head of the Senate National Economy Committee, his personal company, Work Service, received a contract to provide services without going through a public bidding process.

Misiak, tipped as a high-flyer within PO and earmarked for head of the party’s European Election campaign, has also denied the claims, saying he had been “put on a cross for someone else’s sins,” a direct reference to the fact that Pawlak is to apparantly receive no punishment at all.