GRECO: Fifth Round Evaluation Report on Poland
On 28 January 2019, GRECO published its fifth round evaluation report on Poland.
The report recognizes the progress made, including the new anti-corruption programme for 2018-2020 and the improved transparency of interaction with lobbyists. However, GRECO raises serious concerns and, as a top priority, recommends addressing the establishment of an objective and transparent system for the appointment, promotion, and dismissal of senior managers in the Police and Border Guard as well as addressing the corruption risks arising from the current system of asset declaration.
Concerning law enforcement agencies, the report highlights that three Chief Commanders have headed the Police in the space of just two years. In addition, low salaries make it more difficult to find qualified staff and lead officials to take up part-time jobs, leading to incompatibilities and problematic relations with third parties.
With regard to the risk of corruption among “persons entrusted with top executive functions” (PTEFs) in the central government, the report expresses concern over the lack of clear rules and guidelines for gifts. International opinion polls show that a large number of Poles regard corruption as widespread and that business representatives see too close a link between politics and business.
As regards the asset declaration system, the report welcomes the declaratory obligations for assets and interests of PTEFs, including those co-owned with spouses, but notes that the picture may be blurred if changes are made to the regulation of matrimonial property. Additionally, systematic awareness-raising activities are missing for PTEFs.
GRECO describes the verification of asset declarations by Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CAB) as inadequate, due to the general nature of the data, which merely refers to the number of declarations received. In addition, GRECO raises concerns about the independence of CAB, as it is under the authority of the Prime Minister and of a designated “minister-coordinator for special services.” Therefore, GRECO recommends establishing an independent review mechanism with adequate means to perform its tasks in an effective and accountable manner.