Polish audit office notifies prosecutors former PM may have abused power

FILE PHOTO: Former Polish PM Morawiecki attends new government's programme presentation in Warsaw

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's Supreme Audit Office (NIK) notified prosecutors that former Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki may have committed a crime by acting to the detriment of the public interest when granting subsidies to municipalities, it said on Monday.

Morawiecki and other high officials in the former Law and Justice (PiS) government neglected their duties, or abused their powers, when funding road construction and financing the post-pandemic recovery, NIK said in a statement.

This caused losses to municipalities of as much as 4 billion zloty ($1.00 billion), it said.

The PiS press office was not immediately available to comment and Morawiecki did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

"The subject of the notification is the abuse of powers and failure to fulfill official duties and thus acting to the detriment of the public interest, in the area of granting support to the local governments," NIK said.

PiS lost power in October 2023 to a coalition of pro-European parties and the new government, headed by the coalition's leader Donald Tusk, has vowed to hold to account those accused of breaking the law during PiS's eight-year rule.

Last month, NIK said that tax reforms implemented under the previous government pushed the budgets of the majority of Polish municipalities into a deficit. Poland holds municipal elections on April 7.

($1 = 3.9842 zlotys)

(Reporting by Marek Strzelecki; Editing by Sharon Singleton)