Missing EU Kosovo Funds Not Investigated

resizer22Media has pointed to evidence of corruption in tender and administration procedures while Kosovo was under administration of the United Nations Mission to the country, UNMIK, between the years 1999 and 2008.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that millions of euros of EU funds used to finance contracts and projects for Kosovo’s Electricity Corporation, KEK, and Pristina’s International Airport show “potential fraud and irregularities”.

Allegations claim that 66.8 million euros in association to two KEK contracts were misused during UNMIK’s administration, said the Telegraph.

Similar activities apparently also occurred at Pristina’s Airport, with around 4 million euro of EU reconstruction funds showing indications of fraud.

In addition, the Daily Telegraph reports that “cases involving alleged theft of air cargo fees, alleged bribes in return for airport jobs and claims of ‘theft and corruption’ arising out of the collection of handling and landing fees also appear to have been closed”.

Investigations conducted by UN and EU officials in Kosovo have suggested the existence of this fraudulent activity, which has increased concern within the European Commission which grants around 1 billion euro for development to Kosovo every year.

However, investigations halted in June 2008, with the closing of the the work of the UN-led Investigation Task Force in Kosovo, which also included representatives of Olaf, the EU’s anti-fraud office. The European Parliament has even gone so far as to threaten to campaign for the cutting off of funds to the country if proper investigations do not continue.

Chris Heaton-Harrison, a British member of the European Parliament on the budget control committee told the Daily Telegraph that “British taxpayers’ money is effectively being laundered via unaccountable institutions and ending up in the pockets of criminals and fraudsters”.

“I am not sure what is more scandalous: the fact that this happened in the first place or the fact that the institutions involved seem quite happy to bury the story,” he said.

Kosovo has been plagued by reported of corruption throughout its newly formed institutions, which were first administered by UNMIK, as the state took over responsibility for the institutions only after the government’s declaration of independence in February 2008.

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