Polish European Commission candidate investigated for fraud

Polish European Commission candidate investigated for fraud
Credit: Belga

The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) on Friday revealed they have begun an investigation into the Polish candidate for the European Commission, Janusz Wojciechowski. 

Wojciechowski is also a member of the European Court of Auditors. OLAF said the investigation into the former MEP concerns “irregularities regarding the reimbursement of travel costs.”

The investigation was announced just before the new European Commission was officially announced on Tuesday, by its German president Ursula von der Leyen. 

Wojciechowski was an MEP from 2004 to 2016. Questioned by the AFP, the Polish European Commission candidate  admitted that he reimbursed the European Parliament 11,250 euros after realising he had not included some of the documents required to justify his transport costs for 2009-2011.

Wojciechowski explained the reimbursement “was initiated by me, not the European Parliament,” adding that the reimbursement “covered all the transport costs that were not justified.”

“It didn’t cost taxpayers anything,” Wojciechowski specified. He blamed “an administrative error” and said he provided OLAF “with a full explanation.” 

Meanwhile however, OLAF’s investigation is also looking into other spending according to German daily Der Spiegel. 

Wojciechowski is the second Polish candidate to become a member of the Commission. Poland’s first choice was Krzysztof Szczerski, but he turned down the position for Commissioner for Agriculture as he had no experience in the field. 

The new candidate, 64-year-old Wojciechowski, was chosen at the end of August. He is a member of the sitting PiS party (Law and Justice) and former president of the Polish Court of Auditors. He became a member of the European Court of Auditors in 2016, despite the European Parliament’s objection. 

Another Commission candidate and former MEP, Sylvie Goulard from France, has reimbursed the European Parliament 45,000 euros in a case involving fake Parliamentary assistant jobs within the Modem party. 

The Brussels Times

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