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Ending impunity for grand corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Security Code - Ending impunity for grand corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Security Code

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Introduction

In March 2012, the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEC) published a call for tenders to provide security services at its premises under a two-year contract worth approximately 6 million euros. Five companies participated in the tender. The main selection criteria were offering the lowest price and having a sufficient number of employees. The company Security Code, together with a partner, was awarded the contract. However, the prosecution claimed that this company did not meet the criteria as set out in the tender specifications.

Country
Kosovo
Sector
Public Procurement
Offence
Abuse of official position or authority
Phase
1st instance verdict

Timeline

Suspicion
Official detection
Prelim. investigation
Investigation
Settlement
Indictment filed
Court accepts case
1st instance procedure
1st instance verdict
2nd instance procedure
2nd instance verdict
3rd instance procedure
3rd instance verdict
Extraordinary remedy
Pardon
Enforcement
No charges have been submitted
No criminal procedures

Main Details of the Offence Committed

In March 2012, the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEC) published a call for tenders to provide security services at its premises under a two-year contract worth approximately 6 million euros. Five companies participated in the tender. The main selection criteria were offering the lowest price and having a sufficient number of employees. The company Security Code, together with a partner, was awarded the contract. However, the prosecution claimed that this company did not meet the criteria as set out in the tender specifications.

Security Code is co-owned by Milazim Lushtaku, nephew of Sami Lushtaku, a key figure in the Democratic Party of Kosovo and former mayor of Skenderaj. The prosecution accused Sami Lushtaku of using his influence with the KEC directors to persuade them to award the contract to his nephew’s company. The prosecution claimed that Security Code did not submit the lowest financial offer or have a sufficient number of employees. It claimed the company even forged documents and included people in its proposal who were not on its payroll.

After noticing a series of irregularities, the Anti-Corruption Agency intervened and the adjudication was cancelled. Following a complaint by Security Code, the Procurement Review Body requested the board of directors of KEC to reassess the offers received. The board once again awarded the contract to the company owned by Sami Lushtaku’s nephew.

Shortly afterwards, on 5 October 2012, an investigation was launched. However, the indictment accusing Sami Lushtaku, Arben Gjukaj (former director of KEC), Hysni Hoxha (former head of the Procurement Reviewing Body), Milazim Lushtaku and Esat Tahiraj (joint owners of Security Code), Driton Pruthi (KEC’s former director of procurement) and Azem Duraku (a procurement expert) was only filed on 16 January 2015, two years and three months after the start of the investigation.

After a lengthy legal process, during which the case was transferred from EULEX to a local judge, in May 2019, the accused were acquitted of all charges.

Abuse of official position or authority (Article 414 of the Criminal Code)

The indictment alleges other offences of fraud, falsifying documents and entering harmful contracts.

  • Sami Lushtaku is a former mayor of the municipality of Skenderaj
  • Arben Gjukaj is a former director of KEC
  • Hysni Hoxha is a former head of the Procurement Review Body
  • Milazim Lushtaku and Esat Tahiraj are co-owners of Security Code
  • Driton Pruthi is a former director of procurement at KEC
  • Azem Duraku is a procurement expert

2012

Public procurement

Jurisdiction(s)

Basic Court of Pristina

Procedural Details

1st instance judgement – acquittal of the accused

The criminal report was filed on 2 September 2012. The investigations began on 5 October 2012 and the indictment was registered on 16 January 2015, with the initial hearing taking place shortly after on 20 January 2015 and the second hearing on 11 February 2015.

The main hearing was held on 24 February 2016, one year and eleven days after the second hearing.

Twenty court sessions were held and fourteen were postponed for various reasons. The case was transferred from EULEX judge Vladimir Mikula to local judge Beqir Kalludra, also from prosecutor Paul Flynn to prosecutor Florie Salihu-Shamolli. On 20 May 2019, the accused were acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence.

Two years and three months elapsed between the beginning of the investigations and the indictment. Several hearings were held and others were postponed thus delaying the progress of the case and reaching a judgement. In addition, the case was transferred from the EULEX mission to a local court which had to handle the case from scratch. Changes of courts, judges and prosecutors and unnecessarily lengthy seven-year long process indicate shortcomings in the judiciary.

Outcome of the Case

The accused were acquitted of all charges on 20 May 2019.

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