Polish ex-ministers may have committed crimes in COVID postal vote plan, commission says

WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish parliamentary commission investigating a plan to hold elections by postal vote during the COVID pandemic will tell prosecutors that crimes may have been committed by several top figures from the last government, state media said on Friday.

Donald Tusk's pro-European coalition government, in office since December, has made a priority of holding to account those it accuses of wrongdoing under the previous nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) administration.

The parliamentary commission has been investigating the plan to hold a postal vote. Like many countries, Poland was under strict lockdown measures at the time the election was meant to be held, in May that year.

The plan was abandoned due to splits on the issue in the then ruling coalition and questions over its legality, but the printing of postal ballots that were never used cost the state at least 70 million zlotys ($17.85 million), according to the current government.

It says that those responsible for such a sum of public money going to waste may have committed crimes.

On Friday the commission questioned PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

State news agency PAP cited representatives of the commission as saying that it would inform prosecutors that crimes may have been committed by people including former prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, former parliament speaker Elzbieta Witek, former state assets minister Jacek Sasin and former interior minister Mariusz Kaminski.

Separately, PAP quoted the commission's chairman Dariusz Jonski as saying that it also planned to inform prosecutors that Kaczynski's role in formulating the plan may constitute a crime.

There was no immediate comment from the PiS press office. The party has previously said that the current government is engaging in a politically motivated witch-hunt.

The 2020 presidential election was postponed and finally held on June 28, with PiS-ally Andrzej Duda winning a second term in office in a run-off vote held on July 12.

($1 = 3.9213 zlotys)

(Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Andrew Heavens)