On June 26, the company E&K, which failed to deliver 1,241 respirators to the Polish government, sent the last transfer to the Ministry of Health. Since then, she has not repaid a single zloty of the almost 70 million zlotys outstanding she received in mid-April. The Ministry of Health and the CBA are silent when asked about the powerful coffin at the state cash desk.
The contract for the purchase of 1,241 respirators on behalf of the Ministry of Health was signed on April 14 by the then Deputy Minister Janusz Cieszyński. The E&K company, belonging to Andrzej Izdebski, a well-known weapon trader, has pledged to deliver the first devices in April. In total, all deliveries were to be made by June 30. Cieszyński decided on the day of signing the contract to transfer a prepayment to the E&K account: EUR 35 million, i.e. approximately 154 million out of PLN 200 million, which was to be received by the Lublin company.
But Andrzej Izdebski has never dealt with respirators before. His company has never dealt with bringing medical equipment to Poland. And as it turned out, little was going to change in this regard during the pandemic.
200 out of 1,241 ventilators were delivered
E&K did not meet the next delivery dates and only in June and early July, i.e. after the deadline provided for in the contract, delivered a total of only 200 out of 1,241 ventilators. The ministry realized that it was necessary to demand that Andrzej Izdebski repay the huge advance. But that’s where the problems started. Despite many calls, Izdebski did not transfer money within the prescribed time limits. And at the end of June, he stopped paying his debts at all.
As we were informed in July by the Communication Office of the Ministry of Health, “E&K returned EUR 14 million as unrealized tranches of the order. MZ paid EUR 9 million for the equipment that arrived at ARM’s warehouses, i.e. 200 respirators. Thus, the amount of EUR 13 million is still to be reimbursed. Additionally, according to the contract, The Ministry of Health charged E&K a fine of EUR 3 million for non-deliveries and delays in deliveries.
We asked MZ Communications Office for details of settlements with E&K again on August 3. To date, we have not received an answer. MEPs from the Civic Coalition, Michał Szczerba and Dariusz Joński, who have been conducting parliamentary control of ministerial purchases for many weeks, were more lucky. On Friday, they managed to obtain detailed information on the MZ’s settlements with Andrzej Izdebski. Even though a few weeks have passed since the reply sent to our editorial office, the amounts provided to the deputies by the ministry remain similar.
Since the end of June, the Ministry of Health has not received a single zloty from an arms dealer
They show that of the EUR 35 million donated to E&K, 9 million were deducted for the 200 ventilators delivered, but that EUR 3.6 million were fined for failure to meet the terms of the contract.
Izdebski’s company repaid only EUR 14.2 million of this. The last payment to the account of the Ministry of Health was made on June 26 (it was entered into the account of the Ministry three days later). Andrzej Izdebski returned EUR 4.3 million then. According to the document passed to Deputy Minister of Health Waldemar Kraska to MPs Szczerba and Joński, almost two months have passed since then, and the ministry has not received a single zloty from an arms dealer.
35 million (the amount of the advance payment) – 9 million (the amount for the supplied respirators) – 14.2 million (the amount repaid by E&K) + 3.6 million (fine) = 15.4 million euro in arrears
This means that E&K has not paid 15.4 million euros to the state budget for two months. At today’s exchange rate, it is over PLN 68 million, at the rate on the day of signing the contract, it is almost PLN 74 million. Added to this is the interest.
Deputy Minister Kraska replied, because this week Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski and Deputy Minister Janusz Cieszyński, responsible for purchases, resigned.
– For two months we heard assurances that the funds from the dealer will return. An hour after the announcement of Łukasz Szumowski’s resignation, officials provided us with new documents. They show that no euro has returned since June 26. Manko is PLN 74 million. In addition, there is statutory interest, over 1.5 million. This is the closing balance. PiS politicians apparently do not accept these embarrassing facts. They lie like hired. But we have the documents in hand. They will have to apologize – says tvn24.pl MP Michał Szczerba.
The Ministry of Health has not answered tvn24.pl’s questions about the arrears of E&K since August 3. The CBA has not been answering questions about this company since June 10. We also asked the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Interior and Administration about what they were doing in this case. We have not received any answers yet.
In May, an investigation was initiated in the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw regarding MZ purchases. Nothing is known about its effects yet. And Andrzej Izdebski, when asked when he will return the money, sends us calmly to the Ministry of Health.
Main photo source: shutterstock