Wednesday, July 18, 2012

PSL. Lol.

Not so lucky right now
Who here was surprised by the so-called "PSL tapes" showing the former head of a farm agency run by the Agriculture Ministry allege that Polish Peasants' Party (PSL) members were fleecing the public purse?...Bueller?

The PSL's entire ideology, nay, its raison d'etre, seems founded on sticking its people in public ministries, agencies and institutions -- usually farm-related -- where they can most benefit. And how they do benefit sometime.

Case in point is one Andrzej Smietanko, the ex-president and current director of Elewarr, a state company that controls the biggest grain elevators in Poland and run by the Agricultural Market Agency (ARR). Smietanko makes PLN 29,000 a month in a country where the average salary is about PLN 3,700. This is padded by a bonus of 3% of the agency's profit and he gets PLN 7,000 for sitting on the board of a company Elewarr owes. Trouble is, the government watchdog NIK found that he was hired without proper qualifications (I suppose other than being a PSL man).

Elewarr has in fact been hounded by NIK for some time. The watchdog even demanded Elewarr directors return PLN 1.4mn in bonuses paid out that were illegal. The money was ordered returned…though so far none of it has, surprise, surprise.

Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki fell on his sword today as part of the effort to protect the PSL from negative fallout to the scandal. Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is savvy enough to have demanded a fast response, might even take over the ministry temporarily.

Before the scandal goes, though, the European Commission's interest has been piqued. It demanded on Wednesday that the Polish government explain what was going on with the ARR. If reports that money was wasted are proven, it will call on the government to return funds.

The PSL has always been the weak link of the coalition. A scandal such as this was just a matter of time. For now, Tusk says the coalition has provided "more good" and so should continue, though he called on the PSL to purge itself of impropriety.

This reminds me of the fable about the scorpion and the frog, which can be altered to fit the recent events. The PO (frog) agrees to carry the PSL (scorpion) across the Vistula after extracting a coalition agreement the PSL won't sting the PSL. When half-way across the river, the PSL stings. When Tusk asks PSL leader Waldemar Pawlak why he stung the PO to kill off the coalition, Pawlak answers, "it's in our nature."

We'll see if the PSL can prove this wrong.

3 comments:

  1. nic dodac nic ujac

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy New Year Poland X- are we going to witness a comeback in 2013 ?

    DK

    ReplyDelete
  3. We'll see. Something might be brewing....
    S.

    ReplyDelete