Poland's government to establish new central anti-corruption bureau

Poland's government on Tuesday took up a draft law on a new anti-corruption office, a key step in "mending the state," the prime minister said. "The government will adopt the law on the Central Anti-Corruption Office," Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said on state Radio 1 ahead of the Cabinet's weekly Tuesday meeting. "This is the beginning of the building of a service that is going to watch over us all, that is going to supervise the contact of our administration and our government with the economy."

The draft law would then go to parliament, where Marcinkiewicz's minority government would have to win support for it. Corruption in Poland, which flourished in the communist era when goods and services where hard to get on the regular market, has persisted as a problem even since the transition to democracy in 1989-1990.

According to Transparency International's 2005 corruption index, Poland is the most corrupt of the 25 countries in the European Union, and ranks 70th internationally, tied with Burkina Faso and Syria. Some members of the previous left-wing government were linked to corruption scandals, angering the public and contributing to the team's defeat in the Sept. 25 general election. During their election campaign, Marcinkiewicz' Law and Justice party promised a crackdown on crime and corruption.

But Civic Platform, the largest opposition party, has concerns the government's envisioned bureau would be too powerful and could be used as a political instrument, party leader Jan Rokita was quoted as saying by the PAP news agency. Civic Platform supports the creation of some kind of anti-corruption agency, he added, reports the AP. I.L.

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