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Three detained in Warsaw restitution probe

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 04.12.2017 13:20
Poland's Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) on Monday detained three suspects in the latest chapter of a probe into a restitution scandal in Warsaw, an official said.
Photo: cba.gov.plPhoto: cba.gov.pl

All three detainees are Warsaw City Hall officials. They are suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for approving property restitution and compensation claims, according to Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

CBA officers have searched office premises at Warsaw City Hall and secured electronic documents and data, IAR reported.

One of the detainees, identified only as Kamil D., is acting head of a Warsaw City Hall department that examines reprivatisation applications and a former employee of City Hall’s Real Estate Office.

Another detained official, Krzysztof R., formerly headed a department within the real estate office.

The third detainee, Jacek W., is a chief specialist at Warsaw City Hall’s Real Estate Office, dealing with property restitution claims.

According to Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for the minister in charge of Poland’s security services, the CBA’s findings show that the detainees accepted financial gain in connection with the decisions they issued.

They will be charged with corruption, IAR reported.

Żaryn told IAR that Monday's detentions are part of an ongoing probe into the restitution scandal in Warsaw.

The CBA previously detained suspects including a well-known Warsaw lawyer and a former deputy director of a real estate management department at Warsaw City Hall.

“We are dealing with a case that will certainly continue," Żaryn said.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro indicated there would be further detentions in the case, saying that the operations of law enforcement services so far are “just the beginning of the road.”

Ziobro also alleged that Kamil D., Krzysztof R. and Jacek W. had accepted a total of PLN 300,000 (over EUR 70,000, USD 84,500) in bribes to "enable criminals" to take over residential buildings in the Polish capital.

According to the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, a total of 68 investigations are under way into suspected property restitution irregularities in Warsaw, involving nearly 200 addresses, most of them valuable lots and residential buildings worth millions of zlotys.

Massive web of malpractice suspected

The scandal over the restitution of real estate in the Polish capital has already seen the dismissal of several officials at Warsaw City Hall, and calls for mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz to resign.

Amid media allegations of a massive web of malpractice involving Warsaw officials, Gronkiewicz-Waltz last year announced that City Hall was firing three staff over the restitution of a prime plot of land on Chmielna street in the centre of the capital.

Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Warsaw mayor since 2006 and a leading light in the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, said that the decision to transfer the plot was “hastily taken” and that the three officials involved did not consider “all of the circumstances of the case.”

Gronkiewicz-Waltz has repeatedly failed to appear before a special parliamentary commission probing suspected restitution irregularities in the Polish capital.

On Monday, the commission was examining the reprivatisation of a residential building at 16 Noakowskiego St. in Warsaw to which Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s husband acquired part of the rights in 2003, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

The origins of the scandal date back to the seizure of property under the October 1945 Bierut Decree, named after former Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut, which legalised the confiscation of plots of private land in the capital.

Thousands of private buildings were taken from their owners. Since the fall of communism in Poland in 1989 it has been possible to submit claims for the return of such confiscated property.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, PAP

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