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UNMIK refutes allegations of having failed to act against corruption

Prishtinë, Apr 12, 2006 - SRSG Soren Jessen-Petersen said that the report of the OIOS presents a wrong view on the situation and is an insult for Prishtina Airport, since it is managed very well and according to European standards.

Kosovar dailies published a press release issued by the UNMIK Press Office. “UNMIK refutes allegations made in a recent report of the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) from New York regarding lack of action against corruption and mismanagement allegations at Pristina International Airport,” the press release reads. “UNMIK considers this particular report as flawed. It ignores actions taken over the last years by UNMIK and does not reflect the current situation. The allegations made are not supported by the facts and are not substantiated by the evidence.”

“Not only have we set up effective bodies that deal with the criminal side of this destructive phenomenon, we also changed the management structures of the Publicly Owned Enterprises to diminish the scope for fraud and mismanagement. The Airport is a success story for Kosovo: it manages almost one million passengers per year and internally it has been developed into a transparent and modern company.”

According to the press release, Prishtina Airport has been audited externally every year since 2003 and identified weaknesses addressed. “The Airport has substantially improved its financial tracking systems, has established clear written guidelines as to levels of authority within the Company, and written standard operating procedures for human resources management and procurement, among others,” the press release reads.

The press release also reads that UNMIK took a broad range of actions regarding the Airport, in response to reports of the ITF. “Nine cases, where the ITF suspected criminal activity, were properly investigated by the Police and the Public Prosecutor. In seven cases the evidence proved insufficient to proceed to trial. One case is presently in the judicial process, while anotherremains under investigation.”

“The Airport Board of Directors created a Task Force last year to look into the ITF findings. The Task Force report will be discussed by the Board on 20 April.”

As far as the criminal activities and corruption are concerned, the investigations are going on and the conclusion should be given later.

Epoka e Re writes on the front page “UN accusations ridiculous says UNMIK!” The hot topic of corruption opens another gap between UNMIK and the UN, says the paper.

“A lying picture”, says an Express headline. The SRSG said that the OIOS report has ignored UNMIK’s investigations and is giving a false picture, because it only deals with cases before 2003, says the paper. Whereas to the criticism that he is only dealing with political issues, he replied that he is focused ‘on the problems of the people,” says the paper.

Express also carries an article on the chronology of corruption as they call it, recalling the words of the then SRSG Michael Steiner “Zero tolerance to corruption”, and says that this statement is all that has been done to fight this phenomenon, which is the cancer for Kosovo.

The paper carries another two-page article on the ‘top list of the corrupted’ . It starts with the Airport of Pristina, then KEK to move to KTA, casinos, etc.

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