Agriculture ministry scrutinized by anti-corruption office
August 2, 2012
Officers of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau CBA started a search of documents in the Polish ministry of agriculture as well as two other institutions under ministry’s control - Poland’s Agricultural Market Agency (ARR) and Elewarr company following alleged misuse of funds and nepotism by government officials linked to junior coalition Polish People’s Party (PSL).
The inspection is an effect of investigation launched on July 23 by CBA together with Warsaw district prosecution office after the so-called “video scandal”, which resulted in Poland’s agriculture minister Marek Sawicki’s resignation.
Earlier in July the Polish media revealed a secretly-recorded video recording of a private conversation between Wladysław Serafin, chairman of the National Union of Farmers and Farmers' Associations and a top member of PSL and Wladyslaw Lukasik, a former head of of ARR agency.
In the recording, Lukasik talks about actions taken by people in the agency [dominated by PSL politicians], including possible embezzlement of state companies, pressure to employ selected individuals in various agricultural agencies and irregularities in distribution of EU farm subsidies for agricultural projects.
ARR agency, which owns several agricultural companies, Elewarr grain company among them, distributes state and EU funds for agricultural enterprises.
According to the spokesman for the prosecutor's office Dariusz Slepokura, as quoted by the Polish radio, “numerous financial irregularities” concerning payments made to members of the board of Elewarr were revealed by an inspection by the Supreme Audit Office (NIK) covering the period 1 January 2008 to 30 June 2010. However, Slepokura said that these irregularities were still occurring in 2012, “in spite of the fact that the Agriculture Market Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture had known about this for over a year.”
CBA officers have secured the documents related to Elewarr and will analyze them now, Slepokura said.