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03 June 2008

SPEECH OF KOSOVO ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY DIRECTOR MR. HASAN PRETENI IN ADDRESS TO THE MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOSOVO

Mr. Assembly Speaker,
Gentlemen members of Government Cabinet,
Distinguished Members of Parliament


First I want to thank you for your participation in this balance of Annual Report on the work of Anti-Corruption Agency, which makes me believe that the work we have done so far will be the focus of your attention.


My simple conclusion is that the work which has led us to this one-year analysis made us hope to have the comfort of being heard with interest and confidence by you. And just for the sake of this work and these sacrifices, we are ready to confront on the things we have done, and which we have done well, on what we have left not done and what we have begun to do. 
I also appreciate and welcome any criticism, comments or suggestions, which may serve to increase the productivity and effectiveness of our work as an institution that as its mission has the strengthening of law and order in Kosovo.


The Agency is an independent body conceived as a fundamental mechanism in preventing, combating the phenomenon of corruption and coordinating anti-corruption policies in Kosovo.

-Funding for the operation of the Agency shall be provided from the budget of Kosovo;
-Employees in ACA (refer to the reporting year) 15 employed out of 35 as foreseen by the organizational chart;
-From UNDP - we have had 4 consultants (2 international and 2 local).

Agency carries out responsibilities provided by Anti-Corruption Law, 2004/34, and started work on 17 July 2006 (with the election of the director) and has started to be operational on 12 February 2007.


Agency work is overseen by the Council of ACA. The Board consists of 9 members, 3 appointed by the Assembly and one representative appointed by the Office of the President, Government, Supreme Court, Public Prosecutor's Office, local authorities and civil society.


Honoured guests,

Agency activities in the past year are based on three pillars:
-Implementation - law strengthening;
-Prevention of corruption or eliminating the causes of corruption;
-Education.


Strengthening of the law
Specific activity on the treatment of information that citizens brought to the Agency, its investigation and transfer to the Public Prosecutor of Kosovo. During 2007 the Agency handled 124 information. After administrative investigations in 61 cases in the absence of evidence they were closed, 47 were proceeded to the relevant Prosecutor and at the end of 2007, 16 information were in the investigative phase. From information proceeded to the Prosecutor, 14 belong to the Judiciary, 13 to Government, 11 to Local Government and 9 to public enterprises.


In accordance with applicable legislation, namely the Criminal Code of Kosovo, the nature according to criminal cases is as follows:
-Abuse of official duty and authority -12 cases;
-Misappropriation of official duty - 9 cases;
-Taking Bribes - 10 cases;
-Influence Exercise - 4 cases;
-Issuing of unlawful judgments - 7 cases;
-Collection and illegal payments - 2 cases;
-Falsifying official documents - 3 cases.
From these facts from the cases of alleged corruptive acts, which were proceeded for further criminal prosecution to respective prosecutors, the economic consequences that could harm Kosovo society amount to about 30 million euros.

From the information proceeded to the prosecutor, we are officially informed about the fate of only 6 of them, among them 5 are information pertaining to the judiciary and a case that is about Local Government.
Prevention – elimination of the causes of corruption
a) Monitoring of property
Although this activity is performed for the first time in Kosovo, 98% of officials have performed this duty. This requirement is implemented in three phases and to the full realization was needed that against 24 officials were required to be undertaken administrative measures, reduction of salary for 20%, while to 14 officials from their employer was requested a definitive termination of employment.
After the technical/logical control we found many irregularities in filling out forms and all this is required extra work and direct contact with officials to avoid the deficiencies.

b) Prevention of conflict of interest
According to information based on the existence of conflicts of interest, the Agency has intervened in 15 cases and has achieved their avoiding.
We noted several instances of violation of the Public Procurement by the Institutions of Kosovo and the Agency has taken actions which recommended cancellations of several tenders and other initiatives of PISG, before bid opening, by eliminating discrimination of responsible economic operators. The estimated value of the cancelled tenders reaches about 7 million euros.
c) Education
At the Agency as a new institution established by the Assembly, the educational aspect is treated in two ways:
-Education – professional capacity building of Agency officials and general public education in order to increase the civic awareness.
Agency officials, during the reporting year, have participated in a total of 35 trainings, conferences, round tables and study visits.
As a result of excellent cooperation with Kosovo Education Centre, we have actively participated in seminars organized in 10 municipalities of Kosovo, together with the OSCE and UNDP have conducted two media campaigns, we visited all Ministries of Government of Kosovo and three of the larger municipalities of the country, where officials have informed on the legislation and anti-corruption mechanisms.
We had very good relations with the media by not refusing any request for cooperation.
For all Agency activities are spent 336,956.06 euros, 88.11% from the budget approved, by managing well the budget and spending minimally for phone calls, lunches, dinners and fuel, where only 5% of the budget is spent on minimal value procedures (cash).
Barriers
-Budget not as required;
-The number of officials not according to organigram;
-Low and not motivating salaries;
-Inability to hire the field experts and risk of existing staff leaving;
-Cooperation with prosecutors not at the right level;
-Small and dysfunctional premises.

Honoured guests,
ACA has been operational for more than a year and this is the first report being presented before you, I am convinced that the results obtained are far from what we want, but I think that Kosovo has established an institution which has already created a strong foundation, an institution to which the citizens of Kosovo are increasing the trust and with continued support from the central institutions in a near future will achieve desirable results.

Dear MPs,

Allow me to refer to the current situation with a couple of sentences.
Agency has for the first time the requested budget, the number of officials will definitely be according to organigram, the Assembly is taking concrete steps towards strengthening the Agency and there is progress in relation to the Prosecutor. All this is resulting in increased intensity and quality of the Agency work.
So far we have received 59 serious information for corruptive actions. In order to prevent them, allow me to distinguish two of the many forms of corruption information. The first that still continues is:

  • Extensive abuses in the tendering process (by not publishing tenders on the website, by discriminating responsible operators and not respecting their own determined conditions, (only in the last two weeks, in 3 cases, after our response to tenders issued, is prevented the attempted misuse of more than 2.5 million euros).

The second is new but with metastatic signs:

  • At the procedures for selection of international consulting, to the willingness of international institutions to help establish local institutions, our officials respond by putting on the list their relatives or from international experts to consent to the continuation of contracts, they request: vehicle, employment and other favours.

Dear MPs,


In order to protect the rule of law, democracy and human rights, good governance, fairness and social justice, competitiveness, economic growth, general trust in public institutions and moral values of society, the fight against corruption and involvement of all institutions in the process is necessary.


Thank you for your attention.

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