Thursday, January 14, 2010

Audit reveals ‘financial irregularities’ at Poland’s public TV

From: The News
Poland’s Supreme Auditing Chamber has uncovered financial irregularities in the state-owned broadcaster TVP.

The Prosecutor’s Office has been informed about possible offences related to the misuse of public funds.

The Supreme Auditing Chamber (NIK) has checked the finances of TVP in the years 2007-2009, while it was managed by Bronislaw Wildstein, Andrzej Urbanski and Piotr Farfal. It turns out that the broadcaster spent 150 million zloty (36 million euro) incorrectly.

Among the irregularities mentioned by NIK are costly reshuffles of managerial stuff. As many as 90 percent of personnel decisions were taken to the detriment of TVP. The Supreme Auditing Chamber reports that the worst situation occurred at the beginning of 2009, under the management of Piotr Farfal. Farfal, who had close ties with the Catholic-nationalistic League of Polish Families (LPR), dismissed over 26 managers (usually related to the Law and Justice party), which cost TVP over 2 million zloty (500,000 euro).

Another irregularity was legal outsourcing, which cost the broadcaster 17.5 million zloty (4.3 million euro) and was unnecessary, in NIK’s opinion, because TVP has its own lawyers. One of the advocates employed by Farfal, also related to the LPR, managed to earn 54,000 zloty (13,000 euro) in only three months.

NIK also reported irregularities on hiring advisors. Usually their duties were not defined but nevertheless they managed to earn from 5,000 to 20,000 zloty (1,500-5,000 euro), which cost TVP over 7 million zloty (2 million euro). Andrzej Urbanski employed as many as sixteen such advisors, Piotr Farfal – three and Bronislaw Wild stein – one.

The Supreme Auditing Chamber wants the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate why suspended presidents, especially Andrzej Urbanski, used company cars, telephones and credit cards, which cost TVP almost 143,000 zloty (35,000 euro); and why they granted themselves high premiums although TVP’s budget deficit reached 200 million zloty (almost 50 million euro).

Acting to the detriment of TVP may cost former presidents of the Polish broadcaster a fine or up to five years in prison.