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17 July 2008

MEDIA REPORT

PRISHTINA, 17 JULY 2008 - The Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency, during the first half of 2008, has dealt with very seriously with all information received from citizens of the Republic of Kosovo, and where we had the necessary legal space we investigated. When the Agency finds in the cases presented, corrupt elements and finds legal basis in the Criminal Code, they shall send them to the competent Prosecutor taking into account that the definition of corruption in anti-corruption law is broader than that sanctioned by the Criminal Code.
The actions mentioned below, ACA condemns in the moral aspect, and qualifies them as unethical and harmful to the progress of society. In a sign of our demonstrating discontent for such actions we are providing some concrete cases, but due to source conservation and reliability because the cases are in the investigative procedures of prosecution we are obliged to avoid the personal data of those who have allegedly been involved in such cases. Nevertheless, we are very confident that they will recognize themselves in these actions.

Cases:

  • The spouse of an official of a Public Enterprise has obtained a visa for travel abroad (official travel) by being listed as an official of that company, even though she was not employed by that institution.
  • In a Municipal Court is dealt the case of corruption involving a judge and a couple, (employed in two different state institutions). To make the transfer of ownership, the three persons requested from the citizen 1500 euro. Citizen, convinced in the right of ownership, cooperated with the police. Through secret measures police managed to catch in the act the three people involved in this deal. After the proceedings, lead author of this action, the judge is sentenced on probation, while two others (spousal couple) received higher sentences. This action shows no professionalism of those who had to make a fair and impartial decision when it comes to their colleague judge.
  • In two different municipal courts, two people got certificates that are not under investigation and, in the same month the District Public Prosecutor's Office raises charges against the same persons, which means that they were being investigated in the District Prosecution.
  • Officials of an independent institution of the Republic of Kosovo, receive their salaries directly from treasury bypassing regular procedures and not signing at the payroll. At the same institution, officials who work during normal working hours at their institution, receive additional salary for their engagement at various committees. This means that during the same working hours in the same institution they receive more than two salaries.
  • In a ministry of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, official travel advance established in 2006 has not been justified yet.
  • While in 2006 the Office of the Auditor General recorded more than 300 irregularities in the big budget organizations there has not yet been any criminal prosecution.
  • Institutions create not a good image, by not paying the costs for goods or services received. Travel tickets not paid for three months, as well as the daily press that is not paid two to three months.
  • To continue a contract for consulting of an international expert, director of a health institution requests from the international expert to buy him a vehicle.
  • To continue a contract for professional international consultancy, an advisor of a central institution official requests the international consultant to provide her employment in a private university in Kosovo.
  • Some lawyers of the Republic of Kosovo issue many documents for the young lawyers as "proof" of claiming that they are conducting the practice in their offices. The young lawyers are using this evidence to be admitted to work by offering them as evidence of work experience.
  • As of 19 February 2008 when the customs points were destroyed in the northern Kosovo, Customs is not present in these two customs points, as well as in a large territory, including three northern municipalities. Goods enter mainly through border crossings, gate 1 and 31, but a significant proportion of companies do not come to the Customs Terminal in Mitrovica for clearance, where they sell the same commodity to people in northern part of the Republic of Kosovo. This situation has led to an increase in smuggling at the border and the establishment of various retail centres (especially for petrol) inside the territory from where the smuggled goods are sold. Customs Service is making efforts through the deployment of mobile checkpoints on two main roads leading to the north of Kosovo to prevent the possibility of penetration of these goods in other parts of Kosovo, but has difficulty in stopping this phenomenon. The smugglers have changed methods of operation and first place the goods in the part not controlled by custom, and later through secondary roads carry them illegally to the rest of Kosovo. Currently the only authority in northern Kosovo is UNMIK police and KFOR and the KPS has limited responsibility.
  • A former Director of Education in a municipality (now in position at the Central Institution) to get permission for the payment of 50,000 euros for debt relief in the municipality, pays 1000 euros to the treasury official.
  • For roads paved last year, procedures are requested now. The actual case is a municipality in the Republic of Kosovo where was started the tendering procedure for the paving of a road, while the same road was paved last year.
  • A senior official is a member of both boards of institutions funded by the Kosovo budget. In one case is a member of the decision-making board and he cannot be a board member of another one because he is obliged to comply with 8 hours of work, the more so when the same is employed in the Public University and three other private ones.

Due to lack of necessary legal provisions to tackle the above cases, the Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency encourages all individuals and institutions to avoid such corrupt practices as well as those of a conflict of interest. ACA also called on the authorities responsible for combating smuggling to take necessary measures to strengthen and activate the customs posts in northern Kosovo which as result of the lack of legality there, make Kosovo budget undergo major losses.

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