continued from Part 2
Outrage swept the political scene in 2007 when Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) MP Barbara Blida committed suicide at home in the presence of officers of the Internal Security Agency (ABW) who had burst into her house with a warrant for her arrest. Accusations were flying everywhere. Why did the ABW officers not stop Blida pulling the trigger? The Commission on the Tragic Death of MP Barbara Blida headed by Ryszard Kalisz (a colleague of Blida’s) sought to discover the legality of the actions of the ABW and public prosecutor (which at the time were under the auspices of Jarosław Kaczyński’s government). Also incriminated in the affair was Zbigniew Wasserman, himself no stranger to the workings of the investigative commissions having being a member of two previous ones. The komisja has not yet concluded its work.
The following commission began its work at the beginning of 2009. Yet again, death returned to the komisja. This time the remit of the investigative commission was to look into the kidnapping and murder of Krzysztof Olewnik, who was the son of a wealthy businessman. Two days after his kidnapping, a ransom was demanded for Olewnik’s safe return. Olewnik’s family paid the ransom, however his body was later found beaten, tortured and pumped full of drugs (by the kidnappers). The affair exploded when it turned out that the police/public prosecutor files on the case had gone missing. Soon afterwards the criminals who had been sentenced to prison for Olewnik’s murder were one by one found dead in their prison cells. First, Wojciech Franiewski, then Sławomir Kościuk. For fear that Robert Pazik (one of the three criminals found guilty of murder and the only one still alive) would also kill himself (or be killed), his cell was closely monitored at all times. However, he too was found dead in his cell. Mystery clouds Olewnik’s death and the commission is still at work.
Poland’s latest komisja saw PiS MP Zbigniew Wasserman (former controversial coordinator of the Special Services) return yet again as a member of a komisja and play a starring role together with PiS colleague Beata Kempa. Every government has come under its fair share of attacks from subsequent commissions – first SLD, then PiS. The new PO government was no exception and felt the full force of negative komisja PR. The Gamblegate Commission, as it has become known, was called into being in order to investigate charges of illegal lobbying on the part of members of the gambling fraternity as well as the dubious connections with this fraternity of various members of the PO government. This komisja was a chance for the afore-mentioned Wasserman and Kempa to attack the government, however, the real star of the show was Franciszek Stefaniuk of PSL who showed everyone the true motivation behind the creation of each and every komisja – marketing, showbiz and self-promotion (click here to watch him in action).
What have these commissions brought to Polish politics? Certainly controversy, scandal, self-promotion and politicking but have they served their purpose? Probably not. If this institution is to meet the demands of today’s politics and politicians, something has to change. The question is what? The politicians or the komisja.