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News by Fred Alan Medforth
Saturday, January 07, 2017
Funds Raised For Left-Wing Polish Protest Movement Were Funnelled To Founder’s Tech Company
The leader of Poland’s popular anti-government movement is under pressure to explain why funds from public collections for the movement have gone to his information technology company.
Mateusz Kijowski has insisted he doesn’t take any money for spearheading the Committee for the Defense of Democracy, a movement he initiated via Facebook shortly after the conservative Law and Justice party took power in November 2015.
The movement has led massive marches across Poland to protest government policies that critics say threaten democracy.
Polish media reported this week that some 91,000 zlotys ($21,980) collected from protesters went to Kijowski’s company account.
He says it was for the firm’s work for the movement, but allowed that the situation is awkward. The issue surfaced at a time when the movement’s top activists are preparing to vote to confirm or reject his leadership, he said.
Other Committee for the Defense of Democracy leaders said their trust in Kijowski has been undermined. They are demanding an audit and greater transparency about the movement’s finances.
The disclosure was the second embarrassment this week for government opponents.
Earlier in the week, opposition Modern party leader Ryszard Petru acknowledged he showed poor judgment for having gone on a New Year’s Eve trip abroad with a female colleague while other party members were continuing an anti-government sit-in in Parliament.