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Poland dismisses state road agency chief

WARSAW, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Poland's government on Thursday dismissed the head of the GDDKiA state road agency, Lech Witecki, who played a central role in administering a massive road-building programme backed by European Union cash.

"This is a key moment in one of the most important areas of my ministry's work. I think GDDKiA needs fresh power, " infrastructure minister Elzbieta Bienkowska said in a statement.

Construction companies have criticised the way GDDKiA awarded and managed road-building contracts worth billions of euros. They allege the agency forced them to take losses on the contracts and pushed some into bankruptcy, though Polish officials have denied this.

Firms that have been in dispute with the Polish road agency over payments include Austria's Strabag and Alpine Bau, a unit of Germany's Bilfinger, Ireland's SIAC, SISK and Roadbridge, and a unit of Spain's Ferrovial.