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Poland's Leaders Want New Top Auditor to Go Amid Scandal

FILE - Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki adjusts his glasses during a press statement in Bucharest, Romania, Sept. 18, 2019. Morawiecki said Friday that he expects Marian Banas, head of Poland's audit office, to resign.

Poland's government is calling for the resignation of the head of the audit office amid a swelling scandal over his contacts and dealings.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Friday he has read a classified report on the dealings and financial status of Marian Banas and expects him to resign. The right-wing ruling party also said its powerful leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, wants Banas to go.

Banas insisted the allegations were "lies" and continues in his job. Under the constitution, he cannot be fired.

Government critics say the stalemate exposes the chaos that the ruling Law and Justice party has brought to the state, with policies of ignoring the constitution and undermining judicial independence and the democratic system of checks and balances.

Banas, a former finance minister and tax administration head, was nominated and praised as "crystal clean" by the ruling party and approved by parliament as head of the Supreme Audit Office in August.

But recent media reports said a house that he owned in the southern city of Krakow was rented at the time to an apparent sex business; the reports he was required to make as a state official of his financial status were incomplete; and his former subordinates at the finance ministry claimed sales tax that was not due.

The state Anti-Corruption Office on Friday notified prosecutors of irregularities in Banas' financial reports, alleging he has failed to list all of his property and real estate.

Banas denies allegations

Banas said he "categorically" denied the allegations and declared he was ready to give all needed explanations.

Morawiecki said if Banas won't resign, the government has a Plan B, which he did not disclose.

Opposition parties warned they would not help Law and Justice, which won power in 2015, end the impasse it had built.

They claimed the ruling party had failed to properly vet Banas for the sensitive job, while being quick to punish and discredit various judges who had criticized the party's policies and defended judicial independence.