Kosovo: Former Minister Cleared of Corruption
Former Health Minister Bujar Bukoshi and three others have been cleared of charges of corrupt dealings over contracts for pharmaceutical supplies to Kosovo’s health ministry, Balkan Insight reported.
Three other ex-health officials were convicted by the EU rule-of-law-mission in Kosovo. EULEX handles cases of corruption and war crimes beyond the skill of Kosovo’s own police and judiciary. Bukoshi has been one of the most prominent targets of EULEX prosecutors.
Former advisor and permanent secretary to Kosovo’s health ministry, Ilir Tolaj, was found guilty of falsifying documents and tax evasion. His conviction includes 18 months in jail and a €1,000 fine. Tolaj was acquitted of several other charges.
Arbenita Pajaziti was convicted of two counts of falsifying documents and sentenced to eight months in jail and a two-year suspension. Pajaziti has also been barred from public service employment for two years.
The former chief of health services, Hajrullah Fejza, was convicted of requesting bribes. He was sentenced to eight months in jail and barred from employment in public service for three years.
The EULEX prosecution said it would appeal the acquittals, Balkan Insight reported.
Despite pressure for reform from the EU and other international institutions, Kosovo registered troubling declines in the latest corruption index tallied by the Freedom House, Balkan Insight reported.
Although Kosovo’s judicial rating improved in 2011, supposedly as a result of court reforms, the 2013 report conveys that these improvements have not addressed key weaknesses in the country’s judicial system.