Poland: Former Legislator Sentenced for Corruption

A member of Poland’s ruling Civic Platform party received a three year prison sentence Wednesday after a court found her guilty of corruption.

According to the verdict, former legislator Beata Sawicka of the northern town of Hel accepted over 100,000 zlotys (US$ 29,500), a diamond encrusted pen and alcohol in 2007 in exchange for facilitating a real estate deal.  The court said she assisted a company in securing land worth 3 million zlotys (US$ 900,000) in Hel.

Hel’s mayor Miroslaw Wadolowski received a two year suspended sentence for requesting the bribes from the company.

Sawicka and Wadolowski were approached in 2007 by two men from Poland’s then-nascent anti-corruption agency posing as businessmen interested in land.

Their subsequent arrest occurred just before parliamentary elections and was interpreted by some as political engineering by the nationalist group that had been in power, the Law and Justice party.

Sawicka, who was ousted from her party, said she had been framed.  One of the undercover agents she said misled her is Tomasz Kaczmarek, who left the anti-corruption office to work as a legislator in the Law and Justice party.

According to the Associated Press, Kaczmarek was booed during his swearing in ceremony last year.

Both convicted legislators have the right to appeal the verdict.