Doubts about new chief of Polish competition watchdog UOKiK surface
The appointment of Adam Jasser, the now former secretary of state in the PM’s chancellery, to the position of the president of the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has drawn criticism with regard to compliance issues from business and legal circles, the Polish media reported on March 20.
“The law clearly states that the post [...] can only be occupied by an individual who complies with all of the listed requirements,” Stanislaw Gebethner, professor of law at the University of Warsaw, told the Polish economic daily Puls Biznesu. “A lack of compliance with even one of the requirements disqualifies the candidate.”
“I don’t think that he [Adam Jasser] has the required competencies to properly exercise the function of the head of UOKiK,” Maciej Grelowski, head of the Business Centre Club Main Committee, also told the paper.
The law regarding UOKiK lists seven requirements that a candidate must meet in order to be considered for the top position. Among others it stipulates that a person must have the education and knowledge to carry out the required tasks. The Polish media reported that Jasser has a higher education degree in English philology and is a graduate of a management major at the Michigan Business School.
Business circles are also sceptical about the new candidate’s impartiality, especially considering that three out of four members of the election committee are current employees of the Polish government.
Former UOKiK CEO, Malgorzata Krasnodebska-Tomkiel, became the watchdog’s deputy in June 2007. This was followed by her appointment as chief executive a year later by Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Krasnodebska-Tomkiel was subsequently dismissed by Tusk in February 2014.
The Polish media and business circles speculated on whether the dismissal was due a propsed energy sector deal that was blocked by UOKiK under Krasnodebska-Tomkiel. The deal involved the acquisition between two state-owned companies PGE and Energa. Despite the deal having been included in the government’s strategic plans and despite the two companies having signed a preliminary agreement in 2011. PGE unsuccessfully appealed the decision in court.