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    Poland’s Justice Minister Addresses Cash-for-Visa Scandal

    In the midst of mounting concerns over a cash-for-visa scandal, Poland’s Justice Minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, asserted that there is currently no concrete evidence implicating a former deputy foreign minister, Piotr Wawrzyk, in any criminal activity. However, he also confirmed that Wawrzyk would be subjected to questioning, stating unequivocally that “an interrogation will definitely take place.”

    The scandal, which revolves around allegations of irregularities in the visa acquisition process, has the potential to cast a shadow over the government as the country gears up for the general election on October 15. Poland’s ruling coalition, led by the socially-conservative Law and Justice party, has made immigration control a central theme of its election campaign, making the allegations of cash-for-visas all the more significant and potentially damaging in the eyes of critics who accuse the government of hypocrisy.

    While the opposition Civic Platform party has already contended that the scandal is tarnishing Poland’s reputation, Ziobro remains steadfast in his defense of Wawrzyk. Speaking to radio station RMF FM, he maintained that there is currently no evidence to suggest that Wawrzyk benefited from any wrongdoing, emphasizing that “there is not a shred of evidence at the moment” supporting such claims. He further asserted that the prosecutor’s office had not uncovered any proof of Wawrzyk’s involvement in criminal activities based on the available trial and operational materials.

    Ziobro commended the government’s response to the scandal, highlighting that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had acted swiftly by dismissing Wawrzyk as soon as the irregularities came to light. The Justice Minister also revealed that the investigation into the scandal concerns 268 applications for accelerated visa issuance, underscoring that the discovery was made by Polish law enforcement services rather than foreign counterparts.

    In a video shared on social media, Prime Minister Morawiecki attempted to downplay the extent of the alleged scandal, stating, “Irregularities relating to several hundred visas, I repeat, several hundred visas, were identified by us as part of control procedures.” He went on to mention that Poland’s law enforcement had taken appropriate actions, leading to charges against seven individuals, with three of them currently in custody.

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