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Justice Minister resigns over gun licence scandal

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 30.04.2015 10:28
Justice Minister Cezary Grabarczyk handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, Wednesday evening, following media reports that he was granted a firearms licence without taking the proper tests in 2012.
Justice Minister Cezary Grabarczyk in an archive picture dated 24.02.2015 Photo: PAP/Tomasz GzellJustice Minister Cezary Grabarczyk in an archive picture dated 24.02.2015 Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell

The resignation was announced by the Prime Minister’s Chancellery soon after, with the government spokeswoman Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska telling broacaster TVN24 that the resignation was accepted.

“Minister [Grabarczyk] informed [PM Kopacz] of the reason for his resignation,” Kidawa-Błońska said, adding that “he doesn’t feel guilty and that he did something improper, but took the decision for the good of the office”.

“There cannot be a media storm surrounding any kind of doubt towards the minister of justice,” she underlined.

The move to resign follows on from media reports last week that Grabarczyk was questioned by prosecutors in Ostrów Wielkopolski regarding an investigation on irregularities concerning the passing of exams and the issuing of gun licences.

The anomalies are to have taken place in the Provincial Police HQ in Łódź, central Poland, where police officers are to have organised high-ranking public figures firearms without the need to take any relevant tests.

It is alleged that Grabarczyk was also issued one of the gun licences without passing any exams back in 2012.

Last week, Janusz Walczak, deputy prosecutor in Ostrów Wielkopolski, said that Grabarczyk was questioned as a witness in the ongoing investigations, which are looking into “procedural irregularities”. Grabarczyk himself admitted that he had been cross-examined by the authorities.

Meanwhile, on announcing the minister’s resignation, Kidawa-Błońska said that as there were no charges brought against him, he wouldn’t be subject to any party consequences.

Cezary Grabarczyk is a former speaker of the Sejm lower parliamentary house and held the post of infrastructure minister in Donald Tusk’s first cabinet. When he was made justice minister by Ewa Kopacz, she said that he is her “closest colleague for the past three years, a great friend but also a person […] who places the law above everything”.

It is currently rumoured that Grabarczyk’s deputy, Jerzy Kozdroń, is to take up the ministerial post next week.

Speaking to Polsat News on Thursday morning, head of the Civic Platofrm parliamentary caucus, Rafał Grupiński said that “I don’t know whether Kozdroń will get a promotion, but I will say that he has great experience and has been in the ministry for a few years”. (jb)

Update 1830: It has been announced that Civic Platform MP Borys Budka will replace Cezary Grabarczyk as Justice Minister.

Source: PAP/TVN24/300Polityka

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