PDK founder Adem Grabovci has been found guilty for his role in the ‘Pronto affair’ by the Court of Appeals, four years after leaked wiretaps implicated him and other state officials in the nepotism scandal.
Six months after the Basic Court of Prishtina acquitted all 11 defendants charged in the ‘Pronto’ case, the Court of Appeals has partially reversed the decision, announcing that three of the defendants – Adem Grabovci, Ilhami Gashi and Sedat Gashi – have been found guilty of abusing their official position.
Grabovci, one of the founders of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, has been sentenced to one year and two months in prison, a conditional sentence which will only be served if he commits another criminal offense in the next two years. He will no longer be allowed to stand as an elected official and has been barred from holding public office for a period of two years after he has served his sentence.
Former secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and PDK official Ilhami Gashi was given a conditional sentence of one year and four months in prison, which will only be served if he commits another criminal offence in the next two years. He can no longer be elected and is barred from holding public office for a period of two years after the sentence ends.
Meanwhile, a former political advisor at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Sedat Gashi, was given a conditional sentence of eight months, which is only to be served if he commits another criminal offence in the next year. He can also no longer be elected and is barred from holding public office for a period of two years after the sentence elapses.
In the original indictment that was submitted in April 2018, the Special Prosecution accused several former senior PDK officials and the heads of a number of public enterprises of abuse of official position and “violating the equal status of citizens and residents of the Republic of Kosovo” for appointing political allies to senior positions in publicly owned enterprises.
The case came to public attention in 2016 when a series of recordings of wiretaps leaked from a EULEX investigation into the issue appeared in the media. The publication of the recordings sparked numerous protests in Prishtina, with demonstrators calling for an end to corruption and cronyism from PDK, who at the time had led every government since Kosovo declared independence in 2008.
The wiretaps also featured PDK leader Kadri Veseli, and the party’s founder and current Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, but neither were charged for their involvement.
Drita Hajdari of Kosovo’s Special Prosecution, the lead prosecutor in the case, expressed her disappointment at the verdict back in January when the Basic Court of Prishtina acquitted all 11 defendants.
“In this situation, the hope for a just decision remains with the Court of Appeals,” Hajdari told BIRN. “Unfortunately, this is not the first case in which powerful persons from politics or members of their circles escape justice.”