Polish defence minister denies overstepping powers
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's defence ministry has denied claims by opposition MPs that the country's defence minister overstepped his powers by revealing confidential military information.
Antoni Macierewicz. Photo: Robert Siemaszko/MON.
MPs from the Civic Platform (PO) party want an inquiry into their claims that unauthorised people had access to secret paperwork regarding a PLN 13 billion (EUR 3 billion) planned deal for 50 Caracal multi-role choppers from French-based Airbus Helicopters for the Polish military, which ended in late 2016.
The PO MPs say that Wacław Berczyński, who recently quit as head of a new inquiry into the 2010 Smolensk crash, his deputy Kazimierz Nowaczyk, and Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz’s former aide Bartłomiej Misiewicz, were not cleared by special services and did not have security certificates.
The Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily claims that Berczyński said he “ended” the Caracal deal. The paper reported Berczyński said Macierewicz had asked him to be his proxy.
But the defence ministry claimed it had the right to legally show the documents to Nowaczyk, Misiewicz and Berczyński and said it would request that the PO MPs be prosecuted for making false claims.
Meanwhile, deputy Defence Minister Michał Dworczyk said PO MPs in their time also allowed access to confidential documents.
Macierewicz in April claimed that the PO MPs were trying to deflect attention from their “scandalous Caracal order and the subsequent potential threat to Poland’s security and especially the financial situation of Polish workers, by trying to accuse the defence ministry, and also Berczyński for having illegal access to paperwork dealing with the tender”.
In 2012, a PO-led government launched a tender for multi-role helicopters. In April 2015, offers by domestically-based manufacturers were rejected in favour of France-based Airbus Helicopters, a decision which was criticised by the Law and Justice (PiS) party.
September that year saw the start of talks about an offset agreement, which were continued by the PiS government, which swept to power after elections in October 2015.
After a year of negotiations, the Polish side announced that talks had ended, saying that over the 12 months no progress had been made.
The PiS government said the French offer did not suit Poland’s economic and security interests and that the offset deal offered was less than expected. (vb/pk)