Polish MPs question ex-justice minister in tax probe
PR dla Zagranicy
A panel of Polish MPs on Thursday began questioning their second witness as part of an ongoing probe into suspected cases of VAT and excise tax fraud under the country’s previous government.
Ex-Justice Minister Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski (left) testifies as a witness before the special parliamentary commission in Warsaw on Thursday. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
The witness, Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski, was once justice minister and prosecutor-general in the government of Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who is now a top European Union official, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
The inquiry, led by Marcin Horała, an MP for Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, got under way after the lower house of Poland's parliament in early July voted to launch a parliamentary investigation into suspected irregularities.
Horała said at the time that a probe was needed to check former finance ministry officials and others who oversaw the VAT collection system under the Civic Platform-led government, which governed Poland from 2007 to 2015.
Marcin Horała. Photo: Wojciech Kusiński/Polish Radio
Ćwiąkalski worked under Tusk as justice minister and prosecutor-general from November 16, 2007 to January 20, 2009, the IAR news agency reported.
The special parliamentary commission’s first witness, Witold Modzelewski, one of the architects of Poland’s value-added tax system and deputy finance minister from 1992 to 1996, told the investigators that the so-called VAT gap ballooned in Poland between 2007 and 2015, leading to billions of zlotys in losses for public coffers.
Poland lost hundreds of billions in uncollected taxes under its previous Civic Platform-led government, according to a report released by a tax advisory firm run by Modzelewski.