Poland’s youngest MP suspended after recording revealing alleged corruption

An MP from Poland’s ruling coalition has been suspended from his party while it investigates reports of a recording that reportedly shows him encouraging an election candidate to make a large payment to the private firm of a close associate.

Adam Gomoła, who became Poland’s youngest MP when elected last year at the age of 24, belongs to the Poland 2050 (Polska 2050) party led by Szymon Hołownia, the speaker of parliament. Hołownia today said that if the claims against Gomoła are proven, he would seek to permanently exclude him from the party.

Redakcja nto dotarła do nagrania, w którym poseł Polski 2050 Adam Gomoła nakłania jednego z polityków do wpłaty 20 tysięcy złotych na konto prywatnej firmy szefowej swojego sztabu wyborczego. Polityk zabiegał o pierwsze miejsce na liście wyborczej.https://t.co/qj1kGP50nO

— Janusz Schwertner (@SchwertnerPL) March 8, 2024

On Thursday, local newspaper Nowa Trybuna Opolska (NTO) reported that it had come into possession of a recording from last month of a conversation between Gomoła and an unnamed candidate who was hoping to obtain the top position on one of Poland 2050’s electoral lists for next month’s local elections.

While NTO has not broadcast the recording itself, it has printed what it says in a transcript of part of the conversation, which relates to a discussion of campaign spending limits.

It shows Gomoła trying to persuade the candidate to transfer 20,000 zloty (€4,645) to a private firm run by Barbara Łabędzka, a close associate of Gomoła and reportedly Poland 2050’s election coordinator in the Opole region.

Gomoła assured his interlocuter that “we, as candidates in the parliamentary elections [last year], also signed many such contracts…Such things often happen alongside the campaign”.

However, the candidate expressed strong reservations about Gomoła’s suggestions, saying he “wants everything to be legal, transparent and clean”. State broadcaster TVP reports that the candidate never paid the money and did not receive the top place on Poland 2050’s local electoral list.

🔴 #SodomaGomoła – czyli nielegalne finansowanie partii Hołowni? pic.twitter.com/A3sIFv9KZJ

— Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (@pisorgpl) March 8, 2024

When NTO presented fragments of the recording to Gomoła, he told them he “does not remember any such conversation” and denied ever encouraging a candidate to spend campaign money outside official channels.

This afternoon, Hołownia held a press conference at which he announced that he had not yet heard the recording and that his party was “at the stage of internal explanations on this matter”, including hearing from Gomoła himself.

But he noted that the MP has been suspended from the group’s parliamentary caucus and has also chosen to suspend himself from party membership rights, meaning he will take no part in any official activity, including the local election campaign.

Hołownia added that if the accusations against Gomoła are confirmed, or if there are even any “doubts about how he behaved in this situation”, Hołownia would recommend “ending cooperation with Gomoła”.

Oświadczenie partii Polska 2050 Szymona Hołowni w sprawie posła Adama Gomoły.https://t.co/dHV73FQmdf pic.twitter.com/ZCi3N3ls22

— Polska 2050 (@PL_2050) March 8, 2024

The head of Poland 2050’s parliamentary caucus, Michał Kobosko, also told broadcaster TVP that the allegations against Gomoła are “very serious” and will be “thoroughly explained”. However, Kobosko noted that Gomoła denies the claims and believes that they are “part of a local campaign against him”.

After the allegations were first reported yesterday, Janusz Kowalski, an MP from the caucus of Law and Justice (PiS), Poland’s main opposition group, called for the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) to investigate the issue. “We demand full information on how Poalnd 2050 is financed,” he said.

Another senior PiS figure, Radosław Fogiel, noted that Poland’s National Electoral Commission once rejected Poland 2050’s annual accounts due to the party’s failure to properly report expenditure and revenue. That decision was last year upheld by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the electoral commission to reject a financial report of opposition party Poland 2050.

Its annual report showed no expenditure or revenue but the party argued that was because it could not yet open a bank account https://t.co/LCcFdIEwUT

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) February 23, 2023

Gomoła himself had also previously been embroiled in controversy. Last year, NTO published a report suggesting that the previously little-known and inexperienced 24-year-old had only been given a place at the top of Poland 2050’s parliamentary electoral list because of financial contributions from his wealthy parents.

Kobosko denied that suggestion, telling newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that “places on our party’s lists are the result of competence, effectiveness and diligence”. They had selected Gomoła because they wanted to show that they “take the presence of young politicians seriously”.

Poland 2050 was formed by Hołownia, a former TV presenter, after his impressive third-place finish in the 2020 presidential elections. He pledged that his movement would offer an alternative to the old politics offered by the traditional parties that had dominated parliament for decades.

Dzisiaj sławę zdobył najmłodszy poseł na Sejm RP @GomolaAdam, z pokolenia „Jay-Z”. Bardzo ciekawy jest jego życiorys. Ekonomista, przedsiębiorca. W wieku 24 lat to bardzo imponujące. Ale czy na pewno prawdziwe?

Zapraszam na wątek 👇 pic.twitter.com/Z30gtBaoxP

— Konrad Hryszkiewicz (@KonradHryszkiew) November 29, 2023

Notes from Poland is run by a small editorial team and published by an independent, non-profit foundation that is funded through donations from our readers. We cannot do what we do without your support.

Main image credit: Slawomir Kaminski / Agencja Wyborcza.pl

Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign PolicyPOLITICO EuropeEUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.

Podobne wpisy

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *