ACA Director Shaip Havolli in an interview for the newspaper “Bota sot” spoke about the process of declaring assets for senior officials, which he says was decided to be done electronically due to the situation with the pandemic COVID19 . Havolli points out that 80% of officials have already declared their assets.

He goes on to talk about corrupt officials, the most sensitive areas where politicians are getting richer. Havolli also spoke about the presence of corruption in the country.

“Bota sot”: What is happening with the declaration of assets, have all political officials declared?

Shaip Havolli: The process of declaring the property started on March 1, 2020, while the deadline provided by law was for the process of declaring the property to end on March 31, 2020, but, in order to implement the country, the Government of the Republic of Kosovo no. 01/9, for taking additional measures after confirming the positive cases with Corona Virus COVID-19 and the recommendations given by the National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo, to avoid direct contact, the ACA has postponed the deadline for an indefinite period. . On this occasion, on March 16, 2020, the ACA notified all public institutions and notified them of the postponement of the declaration of assets within their technical capabilities, to make the declaration of assets electronically. So far, 80% of public officials have declared their assets, while for 2020, a total of 4694 officials are obliged to have a legal obligation to declare their assets regularly to the Anti-Corruption Agency. In consultation with the competent CAA institutions, it will take further action to declare assets and will notify public institutions in a timely manner.

Bota Sot: Has anything been done to officials who have not declared their assets in previous years?

Shaip Havolli: The Anti-Corruption Agency organizes and supervises the process of declaring assets in four directions: regular annual declaration of assets, declaration of office, declaration of assets at the request of the Agency and declaration after termination or dismissal. In all cases where public officials have not declared their assets and provided no justification, the Anti-Corruption Agency has taken action in accordance with the law.

“Bota sot”: Are political officials hesitating in declaring their assets?

Shaip Havolli: In general, senior public officials have not hesitated to declare their assets and this can be seen from the annual work report of the Anti-Corruption Agency for 2019, from the percentage of declaration of assets where from 4819 senior public officials, how many have 4759 of them were obliged to declare their assets, 60 senior public officials did not declare their assets, 34 officials declared their assets after the deadline, 12 of them did not declare their assets, while 14 of them did not. declared property with reason. In the coming days, the Agency will issue a notice on the deadline for the declaration of assets of senior public officials.

“Bota sot”: Were there any cases when they cheated or falsely declared the property?

Shaip Havolli: Based on legal responsibilities, every calendar year the Anti-Corruption Agency develops the process of full control of assets for senior public officials who declare assets under the obligation of regular annual declaration and during this process ACA made full control of assets by 20% by the total number of declarations. The process of selecting the forms that are subject to property control is done on the basis of a lottery in the presence of the media and civil society. After the completion of the complete control of the property, against the high public officials who falsely declare their property, by not providing the correct data, as required in the forms, at the moment when the elements of the criminal offense sanctioned by the Criminal Code are ascertained. Kosovo,

In addition to the information evidenced by the process of full control of assets, initiates cases for concealment of property or false declaration, ACA initiates cases according to official and initiates cases based on information received from citizens, media and civil society in whole.

“Bota sot”: Are there those who hide their wealth, do not declare it completely?

Shaip Havolli: As we mentioned above, in all cases where the Anti-Corruption Agency provides evidence that the declarative entities have concealed the declaration of assets, or have not declared it in full, the Anti-Corruption Agency undertakes actions in accordance with the law.

“Bota sot”: In your opinion, is there corruption in Kosovo?

Shaip Havolli: Corruption in Kosovo exists as a phenomenon and action and continues to be the main challenge and problem of the state of Kosovo, hindering the development of the country in a serious way in many integration processes. Not only do I say this as the Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency, but the presence of corruption in the country has also been confirmed through cases in practice which are in court. The level of corruption in Kosovo now has to do not only with public perception, but with a phenomenon that is happening and is evident in the international and local reports that are published continuously.

Preventive measures to combat corruption are a necessity and as such should be addressed by Kosovo institutions which through the legal framework will increase the accountability of senior public officials in the exercise of official duties at all levels of public institutions.

The initiatives and actions of Kosovo’s institutions should urgently create a proper system for preventing and combating corruption that will need to be oriented towards raising public awareness in strengthening personal and institutional integrity while exercising public functions and decision-making processes.

Bota Sot: Who are the most corrupt people in the country, the government, the people of public companies or the heads of boards?

Shaip Havolli:The Agency does not conduct such assessments but based on cases handled by the Anti-Corruption Agency, the persons involved in these cases belong to different profiles and levels such as: Deputy, Deputy Minister, Advisers to Ministers, Ministers, Advisors and Secretaries at Embassies, mayors and deputy mayors, chairmen of municipal assemblies, councilors of municipal assemblies, chairpersons, deputy chairpersons and members of the board of directors of public universities, deans of faculties of public universities, judges, auditors, directors of executive agencies within ministries, directors departments in the ministry, managers and procurement officials, financial officials at the local level, directors of clinics, directors and board members of public enterprises, secretaries of public enterprises, etc.

“Bota sot”: What is the most sensitive area in which politicians are getting rich?

Shaip Havolli:The Anti-Corruption Agency’s focus is on preventing and combating corruption based on current legislation that has regulated the competencies of the ACA, the Agency’s work is focused on investigations and administrative aspects based on the asset declaration process of officials public high, declaration and registration of gifts of public officials Prevention of cases of conflict of interest in the exercise of public office, monitoring of public procurement activities, investigation and detection of cases of corruption and treatment of cases related to whistleblowers.Based on the information and reports in general that assess this phenomenon, we consider that public procurement and public finance management continue to be the most sensitive sectors to corrupt practices.

“Bota sot”: How many cases has the ACA sent to the prosecutor’s office for corruption, conflict of interest and non-declaration of assets?

Shaip Havolli:During the last year, the ACA has initiated 102 cases which it has processed in the Prosecutor’s Office and the Kosovo Police, respectively in the Department for Investigations and Economic Crimes of Kosovo. The structure of criminal offenses forwarded to the competent institutions is characterized by non-reporting or false reporting of property, income, gifts, other material benefit or financial obligations, misuse of the Position or official authority, corrupt actions provided by the Criminal Code. of Kosovo and criminal offenses accompanied by the criminal offense of Fraud also provided by the Criminal Code of Kosovo. While, in support of strengthening the Law and preventing conflict of interest in public institutions, the Anti-Corruption Agency, During 2019, it has continuously provided support and advice to all institutions, explaining how to act in cases of conflict of interest, management, prevention and selection. A series of workshops were also held with public institutions regarding the prevention of conflict of interest.

For 2019, the Anti-Corruption Agency has handled a total of 169 cases of conflict of interest. Out of 167 cases submitted for conflict of interest, for 104 of them, AKM has given Opinions, Advice or Concrete Answers, 26 of the cases have avoided situations of interest conflict, 7 cases have resulted without conflict of interest, 3 cases have been forwarded for investigation. further, while 2 cases resulted in misdemeanor proceedings. Of the number of cases that the ACA has reported for misdemeanors, it is one case that the Court has concluded with a final decision and a fine for a senior public official who has left the position that brought him into conflict. interest. As for other cases for which the ACA has continued the investigation and those for which the misdemeanor process has been initiated, they are still in process,

The Anti-Corruption Agency, since 2019, in accordance with the requirements of the Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest, in cooperation with all public institutions has established the responsible authority within the public institutions of Kosovo and through the authorities responsible for preventing conflict of interest in institutions respectively, during 2019, 231 possible cases of conflict of interest have been identified.

“Bota sot”: Is justice doing its job in terms of corruption cases?

Shaip Havolli: In relation to the cases sent by the Anti-Corruption Agency to the Prosecutor’s Office, we consider that a large number of them result in indictments and then manage to be tried, however there is still a lot of work to be done regarding corruption cases at the level of high where people are involved who have exercised or are exercising important public duties and have an important role in decision-making processes.

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