This research carried out by “Preportr” on public procurement simply and plainly shows data regarding the 100 million euro granted by the party of the prime minister for the companies which lent him a hand during the election campaigns.
From the official documents, this research has found that 43 different subjects, mainly construction companies which as businesses and physical persons financed the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) during the last two election campaigns have benefited over 100 million euro from public tenders. According to the audit report on the finances of the political parties for the campaign of 2009 and for the campaign of 2010, most of the donations that these 43 subjects gave to PDK sum up to a little more than 280 thousand euro. As regards 11 of them, the law was violated and the budget was affected by having to reward them. This means that the companies have increased their income from the power for 350 times in comparison with what they donated to the party in power. After “Preportr” found these data, it has waited for more than two weeks for a comment by the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) and by the office of the Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, but none of them commented as regards the rewarding of more than 100 million euro to the donors of this party through public tenders.
But this relationship, to a certain extent, develops outside the scope of the possibility of being monitored with documentation, since, plainly put, a considerable part of the finances of parties is not possible to be identified. We have only mentioned here the companies for which there is evidence of official documents that they are involved in the financing of political party in power, but we should be aware that a large number of public tenders is awarded to companies which are close with PDK, but which do not have any formal co-ownership, or they do not figure as donors of political parties. “Al-Trade”, property of Bajram Gashani, is a company very much present in the field of public tenders, the owner of which comes from a stronghold center of PDK, Drenas. Only in the Ministry of Education, this company has won seven tenders in the amount of around 9 million euro. This company, in consortium with “Ada Consulting Group”, property of the official of Kosovo Information Center (SHIK), Avni Kastrati, has won a tender of 600 thousand euro from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. Despite the fact that according to the Auditor General, the requirements of the donor, the British Embassy, had been violated as regards the special procurement procedures, the Ministry for Return awarded the continuation of the contract to this company for the design and construction of apartments for minorities.
PDK has also awarded the relatives of the journalists who sided with this party during the election campaign. The company “Albes” from Istog, property of Hajredin Mavraj has been awarded at the amount of 5.7 million only from MASHT, when this ministry was led by Enver Hoxhaj, now Chief Diplomat of Kosovo. The relative of the owner of this company, Muhamet Mavraj, publishes the daily newspaper “Epoka e Re”, which is close with PDK.
This company, apart from tenders in MASTH, has also won tenders in value of a million euro from other institutions headed by people of PDK, even bidding with prices 1200% higher than the market ones. In the tender of the Ministry of Public Administration (MAP) “The Construction of the building of the District Prosecution in Peja”, the representative of the company “Albes”, in the session held in OSHP regarding the problems that had arisen with this tender, he publicly admits that he intentionally used prices 1200% higher than the market ones. In this very session, the representative of this company says that he used the same strategy when he applied in over 100 other projects, but which he had never won a contract for.
“Preportr” has made an official request in the Regulatory Commission of Public Procurement (KRPP) to interpret the legality of the award to “Albes” with this “strategy”, but this institution did not see it fit to interpret this issue.
The closeness with power has made it possible for the misuse of public institutions, such as RTK, in order to award its own people. Shaip Muja, ex-advisor of Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, who gave 1 thousand euro donation to PDK, has 50% of the shares in “Ana Derm”, whereas another 50% belong to his wife, Anita Muja. She is also owner in the other private company “Ana-Z”, through which she has won a contract from the public fund of RTK, but the latter do not accept to make the value of the contract public.
Even Shaip Muja’s brother, Fatmir Muja was not left with nothing. The company “CI-KOS”, property of Fatmir Muja, which according to the data of the Agency for the Registration of Businesses, deals with recycling of metallic trash had won the tender for the sale of metal residue from this corporation, all this during the time when the procurement of the Kosovo Energetic Corporation (KEK) was led by Njazi Thaçi, now deputy director of this corporation, and at the same time cousin to Prime Minister Thaçi. This company now is property of Fatmir Muja, brother of Deputy Shaip Muja, and the contact number of this company is the same as the one of company “Kosova Green Energy”, a business in property of Deputy Shaip Muja, a business which was not declared in the Agency Against Corruption.
Tenders for the donors of the party at any cost
The donors of the party of Prime Minister Thaçi, are traditionally also contractors of the municipalities which this party heads, but awarding these contracts both in the central but also in the local level, the institutions did not “spare” violating the law.
“Preportr” found that from 43 donors of PDK, including here those who donated as businesses, but also those who donated as physical persons and in turn benefited public contracts through their businesses, for 11 of them, excluding here the contract with Post and Telecom of Kosovo (PTK) and “Devolli Group”, the law was violated in awarding them the contracts. The violations for these cases were established by the Office of the Auditor General (ZAP) and by the Procurement Reviewing Body (OSHP).
“Devolli Group”, property of brothers Blerim and Shkëlqim Devolli, although officially donated only 1 thousand euro to PDK only for its branch in Peja, this corporation was awarded with the tender for the virtual operator as part of public mobile telephony, Vala 900, known in the market as “Z-Mobile”. This contract, from which “Devolli” company makes millions of Euros turnover has been signed, apart from ex-Chief Executive of PTK, Shyqeri Haxha, also by the Head of the Board of this corporation, Rexhe Gjonbalaj, ex-head of PDK branch in Peja. For this very contract, EULEX has initiated an indictment for five criminal offenses, including organized crime, fraud and falsification of documents, which has also been confirmed by the judges of this mission, and facing trial for this case now are:: Shyqeri Haxha, Rexhë Gjonbalaj, Blerim and Shkëlqim Devolli, as well as Ismet Bojku.
Being in penal proceedings, despite the rules of privatization, “Devolli Group” privatized two enterprises: “Amortizatorët” and “Emin Duraku”
Serious violations of the law have also been observed from ZAP regarding the corporation “Compact Group” from Gjilan, property of Mustafë Shala. This company, the owner of which is also a business partner with the Mayor of Gjilan, Qemajl Mustafa in the company for maturing of bananas “Viva Fruta” is the contractor of the Municipality of Gjilan in an ongoing basis. Apart from having benefited millions of Euros of public money by the Municipality of Gjilan, this municipality in 2011 approved also the exchange of properties between Hotel “Kristal” of Mustafë Shala and the Municipality of Gjilan. Shala would give the Municipality a property of 479 square meters, which according to the opposition of this Municipality is much less valuable than one parcel of 433 square meters in front of this hotel and alongside the main street of the city, which the corporation “Compact Group” won in the exchange with the municipality.
But as regards “Compact Group” the law was violated on the million euro tenders it won in “Termokos”, during the time when this company was headed by Fëllanza Pula. For two seasons, 2009-2010, 2011-2012 “Compact Group” was contracted by “Termokos” for the supply with mazut, for which a seasonal supply is around 5-7 million euro. For this very company, “Termokos” had violated the law by signing the contract with this company during the time when it had no license for the supply with mazut and oil derivatives, as well as by paying mazut many times a higher price than the one figuring in the contract. Furthermore, during 2010 when “Compact Group” again won the tender for mazut, the procedures for the selection of the company had been cancelled twice.
When we are speaking about the donors, not even the municipalities led by PDK did “spare” the law. The Municipality of Ferizaj, which was led by Bajrush Xhemajli of PDK, for the company “Bageri”, which is in the property of Bujar Shabani from Ferizaj, who during 2009 had given 1000 euro donation to PDK, according to ZAP, this very company during 2009 had committed violations of the law on public finances. In the project for the asphalting of the road in the village of Komogllave, which cost the municipality 125 thousand Euros, the municipality of Ferizaj had paid installments in a larger amount than foreseen by the contract for “Bageri”, in favor of the company, and ZAP had included this violation in the classification “high risk”.
This company, according to its profile in the internet, as part of its business it also has the base of production of asphalt in the municipality of Lipjan, the name of which is “Kosova Asfalt”. The latter, in a publication by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning has been included in the list of companies which by their activities harm the environment. In this publication, “Kosova Asfalt” of the company “Bageri” it is said that it contaminates the underground waters, but it does not mention what measures should be taken against it.
As regards the company “Bajraktari”, property of Mustafë Bajraktari, which had donated to PDK 500 Euros in 2009, the company “Trepça” “took” care to award a tender at any cost, thus violating the law. Through a contract in 2010, for supply with derivates, “Trepça” had violated the Law of Public Procurement (LPP) several times. ZAP has found that, in the contract with a value of 124,088€, “Trepça”had signed the contract by violating the legal deadlines, despite the fact that the company had lacked documents and that the money allocated for this contract had been transferred illegally for this purpose from the line of goods and services. ZAP had established that regarding “Bajraktarin’, “Trepça” violated the agreement for Monitoring and Control. Despite the violations of the law in awarding the tender to “Bajraktari”, this company lost this contract since it failed to supply “Trepça” and the contract was therefore awarded to “HIB Petrol” in the amount of 254,760€, or the double of the amount.
PDK’s Donor is supported by USAID-i
The company “Bejta Comerc”, in property of Basri and Adem Kçiku, which during the last two election campaigns in 2009 and 2010 gave to PDK 1499 euros is loaded with conflicts of interest. This company, which was also supported by the program of USAID in Kosovo with a loan of 900 thousand Euros, had won a tender for the asphalting of several village roads in the Municipality of Kamenica, despite the fact that OSHP had established that Kamenica had violated the law when it had awarded this tender.
Violations continued for this very company. In July 2011, the Unit for Policies and Monitoring of Public Enterprises, within the Ministry for Economic Development (MZHE), led by PDK minister Besim Beqaj, had raised suspicions that the head of the board of the regional Water enterprise “Hidromorava” in Gjilan, Abdyl Hasani, is in conflict of interest. This conflict occurred exactly due to the fact that Hasani was working also in “Bejta Komerc” as Quality manager. Abdyl Hasani himself, engaged by the municipality of Gjilan also in the Council of Experts of this municipality, through a letter addressed to MZHE establishes that he does not have a conflict of interest, although “Hidromorava” had contracted “Bejta Komerc” for supply with fractions of sand.
As regards the violations that had been committed in order to award “Beni Com”, property of Ismet Konushevci, a “chronic” donor of PDK, “Preportr” had published research even in the past. In the research titled “The business of the party in power”, for which “Preportr” was awarded for the best text in online media in 2011, it is observed that this company had been illegally declared winner of the tender in an amount of 3 million Euros by the Ministry of Infrastructure for the construction of the road Kuqishë – Bogë, but which had been cancelled by OSHP-ja.
But this year has not started well for “Beni Com”. KEK, which had awarded this company, in consortium with “Ndërtimtari” in the tender for the services of removing wasteland, the amount of which was 165 thousand Euros. KEK, according to OSHP, had committed several violations of LPP and the tender had gone for reevaluation.
Concerning company N.N.P. ” Engineering” owned by Reshat Kamberi, which in 2009 had given PDK 1 thousand Euros, the Municipality of Ferizaj, led then by PDK’s man, Bajrush Xhemajli, had violated the law. It had transferred in the account of the company more money than allowed by the installment agreement for the project of renovating the City Theatre, a project which cost the municipality around 80 thousand Euros. In this very project, the works have not been accepted by more than half of the supervising team of works. ZAP has classified these violations as having a high risk.
Some institutions violate the law for the sake of one donor
Even small municipalities had violated the law in order to award the donors of PDK. Regarding “Getoar”, in the tender for the construction of the road of Xërxë, in 2010, the municipality of Dragash had committed several violations, but OSHP cancelled the decision of this municipality to award “Getoar”, a company owned by Naim Besimi, which had given PDK 2300 euros during the two election campaigns, a donation which was awarded by MTPT with three tenders and by MASHT with one tender, the overall amount reaching around 4.1 million Euros.
Also, two municipalities with a small territory, Kamenica and Novobërda, and the Company for the Management of Landfills in Kosovo (KMDK) had violated the law in favor of the company N.T.P “Metali”, owned by Elbasan Alidema from Pozhora of Viti, which during the last two election campaigns had given PDK 2 thousand euros.
ZAP had found that Kamenica had separated a project in some expenses smaller than 10 thousand Euros and had entered in special contracts and payments with company “Metali” during 2008, executing thus four special payments in a total of 18,286 Euros, which it had not published in the newspaper as tenders, as required by the Law on Public Procurement in power back then.
According to ZAP, this constituted a favoring of this company. One year later, in 2009, according to ZAP, the municipality of Noboberdo had twice violated LPP for “Metali” in the tender for supply with heating materials: wood and coal.
In 2010, KMDK had committed continuous violations in the tender for supply with heavy machinery, where “Metali” was declared winner, but the other PDK donor, “Getoar” from Prizren complained,. Regarding this tender, the amount of which was around 400 thousand euros, there were several sessions of OSHP which were also reported in the media.
The company ” Shkoza FO7 “, a business owned by Fidaie Bytyçi, which in 2009 had given PDK 1 thousand euros was awarded by MTPT with two tenders in the amount of 800 thousand euros. In 2001, in consortium with “Ndërtimi “, both donors of PDK were declared winners of the tender “Renovation of the Regional road R105, segment: Klinë-Brojë, L=4.0km”. “Preportr”, but also other media had reported several times that this tender was accompanied with violations, but the decision to award the tender to “Shkoza F07 & Ndërtimi “, was cancelled by OSHP-ja.
In 2011, the municipality of Vushtrri led by Bajram Maloku of PDK took care of “Shkoza FO7”, who commissioned this company for the maintenance of the roads during winter. This information was provided by the Centre for Emergency Readiness of Vushtrri, but the amount of the contract between the company and the municipality was never made public.
Buja in business with the donor and the contractor
The Mayor of Lipjan, Shukri Buja, also head of PDK in Lipjan, did not see it enough only awarding tenders to company “Stublla”, property of Avni Stublla from Topliçan village of this municipality, which in 2010 gave 9700 euros to PDK, and in turn got from MASHT 4 million Euros worth of tenders. Buja, apart from having awarded “Stublla’ the tender to build with concession the building for the families of war heroes, war veterans, families of martyrs and orphan children, he had also engaged in private business with it. According to the declaration of wealth of Buja, he had deposited the grain in the mill of this contractor of the Government of the Municipality which he heads, while Hasan Preteni, Director of AAK had said for “Zëri” that he would deal with this case.
Preportr has closely examined up to 500 different contracts issued by public authorities from which it gathered data on companies that have benefited from public tenders. These data are compared with data obtained from two audit reports of CEC. They reflect physical and legal entities that fund political parties. From CEC reports it is evident that as legal subjects (companies) 18 of them have been funding last two electoral campaigns of PDK, while as physical entities (owners of certain companies) 22 of them. From the total amount of around 100 million euros that PDK supporters have benefited, 80 million euros come from the Ministry of Education and former Ministry of Transport now Infrastructure.
The law on public finances was violated also by the municipality of Viti in relation to company “Hajrushi”, the owner of which, Hajrush Misini had given to PDK a donation of 1 thousand euros. In the tender worth 58 thousand euros published by the municipality of Viti for the construction of the open duct and roads in the street ‘Kongresi i Manastirit’, according to ZAP, the municipality had transferred in the account of “Hajrushi” more money than allowed according to the installments determined in the contract.
“There is a risk that the money of the Municipality has been misused during this process”, says the report of ZAP for Viti in 2010, which classified this finding as high risk.
The donors of PDK managed to snatch also one-source tenders, which have been criticized by the European Commission as tenders with a high risk due to favoritism. Bejtush Zhugolli, who for the PDK branch in Peja had given 900 Euros in 2009, owns the company “Pejton”. The companies of his brothers have been part of public tenders during the last three years, 2008-2009-2010, the amount of which exceeds 70 million. The Energy Corporation and the Operator of the System of Transmission of of Electric Energy KOSTT have declared the company “Eco Trade” as the winner, which is in the property of Mehdi Zhugolli and the company “ACDC-KOS” of Ilmi Zhugolli in around ten public tenders, which were related to replacement of installations, supply with equipment, and tenders for repair of transporting lines. These contracts amount to around 70 million Euros, and the largest part of these tenders have been one-sourced.