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Another ex-justice minister questioned in Polish tax probe

Another ex-justice minister questioned in Polish tax probe

The witness, Andrzej Czuma, was once justice minister and prosecutor-general in the government of Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who is now a top European Union official, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The inquiry, led by Marcin Horała, an MP for Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, got under way after the lower house of Poland’s parliament in early July voted to launch a parliamentary investigation into suspected irregularities.

Horała said at the time that a probe was needed to check former finance ministry officials and others who oversaw the VAT collection system under the Civic Platform-led government, which governed Poland from 2007 to 2015.

Czuma worked under Tusk as justice minister and prosecutor-general from January to October 2009, the IAR news agency reported.

It cited Horała as saying that 2009 marked a sudden slump in VAT collections in Poland despite economic growth and rising retail sales.

Czuma was another former justice minister called for questioning as a witness as the Polish MPs conduct their inquiry. Earlier this month they questioned Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski, who served as justice minister and prosecutor-general in Poland from November 16, 2007 to January 20, 2009.

The special parliamentary commission’s first witness, Witold Modzelewski, one of the architects of Poland’s value-added tax system and deputy finance minister from 1992 to 1996, told the investigators that the so-called VAT gap ballooned in Poland between 2007 and 2015, leading to billions of zlotys in losses for public coffers.