UNMIK corruption

After months of denials, the deputy head of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) has admitted that he is under investigation by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) – the only organization that UN staff are accountable to under the terms of the UN resolution that created the Kosovo mission in 1999.

Speaking to a news conference on Sept. 26, UNMIK deputy head Steven Schook acknowledged that he faces an internal investigation for alleged misconduct.

 

“No one from the OIOS has contacted me about this investigation…but from what I gathered, the information against me include the following – that I have demonstrated aggressive behavior, that I have demonstrated an unprofessionally close relationship with (Energy) Minister Ethem Ceku and with former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, that I have had personal relationships with international and Kosovar women here in the mission,” Schook said.

Haradinaj resigned in March 2005 to face charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. While investigators have not released any details of the Schook investigation, Schook mentioned the planned construction of the Kosovo C power plant in regard to his relationship with the energy minister Ceku. 
UNMIK personnel are immune to prosecution from Kosovo’s justice system. The Schook investigation marks the first time that the OIOS has investigated a senior UNMIK official. The OIOS in 2002 tracked down US$4.3 million stolen by a former German head of Kosovo’s electric corporation, KEK, and last year published a report exposing a bribes-for-jobs scandal at the Pristina Airport, which is under the control of the Kosovo Trust Agency, which is in turn overseen by UNMIK’s economic pillar. In the latter affair, the OIOS criticized UNMIK for inaction towards fraud and corruption following the release of the report.

“Reluctance by senior Mission management to address fraud and corruption will have a devastating impact on public perception inside and outside Kosovo, as the United Nations will be seen as escaping from the problems rather than solving them,” the report concluded.