Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Polish premier testifies at lobbying commission

From: Earth Times
Mariusz Kaminski
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Thursday told a commission investigating a recent gambling lobby scandal that he had "limited trust" in the former head of the country's anti-corruption bureau and that the bureau was politically motivated. Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau was investigating the alleged lobbying in an operation code-named Blackjack.

Tusk later dismissed Mariusz Kaminski, the head of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, amid charges the official overstepped his powers during an unrelated investigation in 2007.

At the commission Thursday, Tusk said the anti-corruption bureau seemed to carry out investigations for political reasons, or "for a spectacle, or to prove a certain hypothesis."

The parliamentary commission was established in November and includes seven members of parliament.

Tusk is facing allegations that members of his Civic Platform party lobbied on behalf of gambling companies in a scandal that has marred his party's image months before the fall elections. Last week, Tusk announced he would not seek the country's presidency and would instead focus on improving Poland's economic performance.

The gambling scandal saw four top politicians depart on October 7 amid reports that politicians lobbied to block provisions in a bill that would have raised taxes the gambling industry pays to the state.

Tusk accepted resignations in October from the justice minister, deputy economy minister and deputy prime minister in connection with the gambling scandal.

Tusk told the commission Thursday that during their meeting in August on the investigation of alleged lobbying, Kaminski spoke "not of crimes being committed, but of unfortunate events." Tusk said the politicians' behavior then raised suspicion, but were not illegal.