Saturday, July 18, 2009

Serious financial irregularities at TVP?

TVP spent public money illegally and will have to return millions of zloty back to the Treasury, finds an audit report into the finances of Poland’s public television.

An audit into TVP finds serious financial irregularities, Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad claimed today.

“I have turned to the court to appoint an administrator for the company, who will maintain proper supervision and will pass indispensable information [about the company] to the ministry,” Minister Grad said.

The government is going to ask the National Revenue Office to publish the audit report which, according to Grad, is ‘damning’: TVP spent public money illegally and will have to return millions of zloty back to the Treasury.

The row over TVP’s finances is another chapter in the battle for control over public media in Poland.

The opposition Law and Justice party sees the Treasury Minister’s decision as another attempt to wreck public media in Poland.

“The Civic Platform [the senior coalition partner in the current government] is determined to cause chaos within public media,” Mariusz Blaszczak of Law and Justice commented.

Minister Grad claims to have evidence against Piotr Farfal, who was suspended as president of TVP last Friday. Grad says Farfal seriously mismanaged the company and that the audit shows certain tax irregularities.

Minister Grad, told reporters on Wednesday that the fastest and best way to normalize public media is to let the new media bill - which recently passed through both houses of parliament - come into force. But this needs the signature of President Kaczynski, who sides with Law and Justice.

Civic Platform’s MP Stefan Niesiolowski, hopes that recent events in TVP will convince left wing opposition parties to side with the government in parliament and overthrow the probable veto of the media bill by President Kaczynski.

"The media bill will clear up the situation in the public media. The current mess shows best why this law is necessary,” Niesiolowski said, referring to reforms to both the way public media is financed and its administration structure.