Sunday, November 01, 2009

I am not a cheat, says former anti-corruption chief

From: The News
Mariusz Kaminski: Guilty as hell
As the government announces a war on gambling, the former head of Poland’s anti-corruption bureau fights for his reputation after being sacked following the “Blackjack affair.”

Former head of Poland’s anti-corruption bureau, Mariusz Kaminski, said today that he will not “shut his mouth” and will continue to defend his reputation and expose unlawful practices within government.

“I’m not a cheat,” said Mariusz Kaminski at a self-organized press conference. The former anticorruption chief announced that he will do everything possible to defend his image as a reliable person in the public eye. “I will not let anyone intimidate me, I will not let anyone shut my mouth” said Kaminski, who says the government and particularly the ruling Civic Platform party are trying presenting him as a liar.

Kaminski was sacked by Prime Minister Donald Tusk as head of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) after he accused ministers - in what is now known as the Blackjack affair - of taking money from the gambling industry and lobbying on their behalf to change betting legislation that would have increased tax on gambling.

Gambling reputations

Prime Minister Tusk gave details of the latest draft of the gambling bill after Kaminski‘s press conference, which would limit the use of one-armed bandits to casinos and, crucially, significantly raise taxes on betting.

Tusk announced that the government is launching a war on gambling in Poland.

“We want to limit or, if it is possible, completely abolish gambling in Poland,” he said, adding that a growing number of young people are addicted to gambling.

“We aim to reduce the market in [one armed bandits] by 20 to 25 percent a year, leading to their eventual abolition,” he said.

Security certs

Kaminski (left) said at his press conference today that he will appeal to Prime Minister Tusk against the Internal Security Bureau’s decision to deprive him of the so called “security certificate”, which allows access to classified documents.

“If the PM thinks that the decision was lawful, which I presume he will do, I will appeal to the court,” he said.

Civic Platform’s Andrzej Halicki (PO) said afterwards that the former head of the CBA is continuing to act as a political activist for the opposition Law and Justice party - which set up the anti-corruption agency while in government in 2006 - and not as an impartial investigator of crime. "Kaminski should be held accountable, should tell the truth and stick to the facts," Halicki said.

He added that if Kaminski has knowledge of any unlawful activities by politicians then he should notify the public prosecutor.