Polish Supreme Audit Office head under fire for fraud

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The head of the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), Marian Banaś, says he is willing to resign but will not let himself become part of a “brutal political game.” The scandal around Banaś has severely damaged PiS’ image, leading to Jarosław Kaczyński himself to demand Banaś’ resignation.

The NIK head released a statement in which he underlined that he is willing to resign from his position and answer the questions of investigators despite the immunity which comes with his position.

“I was ready to resign from the position of the head of NIK. I have become the subject of a brutal political game. I am ready to answer any question investigators may have and explain any doubts. If need be, I will also relinquish my immunity as head of NIK,” Banaś wrote.

He emphasized, however, that he cannot allow the institution to become the focus of a political struggle and “bartering”. He stressed that he had been chosen for his position in accordance with all procedures.

“Only stable leadership will be able to provide the Office with efficient work and fulfillment of its constitutional obligations,” Banaś added, in what is many are interpreting as an attempt to keep his post despite the pressure from PiS leadership and the opposition.

Banaś has denied any wrongdoing

In September 2019, TVN network stated that Marian Banaś had written a Kraków tenement house, which was a guest house, into his financial disclosure. According to TVN, Banaś had lowered his income from the guest house in the disclosure.

Banaś went on unpaid leave at the end of September while Polish special services (CBA) investigated his financial disclosures. Banaś had stated that he was not currently the owner of the guest house shown in TVN’s program and called the entire affair “an attempt at manipulation, defamation and discrediting his good name.”

He also sued the author of the program.

The CBA stated on Nov. 29 that it has filed a notice to the prosecutor’s office of the possibility of Banaś committing a crime. The notice was the result of the investigation into the disclosures.

In the notice, the CBA points to suspicions that Banaś had filed false financial disclosures relating to his asset declarations, obfuscating his actual financial status and receiving income from undocumented sources.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that he is aware of the report and believes that its conclusions should encourage Banaś to resign. 

According to the Polish Constitution, the head of NIK is elected for a six-year term in office by the Lower House of Parliament, with the consent of the upper chamber, the Senate.

There is no process in place for the recall of the head of NIK. He or she may only be removed if they are convicted of criminal acts or are certifiably unfit for duty due to health issues.

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