Journalists Valon Fana (left) and Egzon Dahsyla (right) won prizes for their articles on procurement affairs. Photo: BIRN

BIRN Journalists Awarded for Investigating Procurement Abuses

BIRN journalists Valon Fana and Egzon Dahsyla on Wednesday were awarded prizes by the Fol Movement for their research in the field of procurement.

Valon Fana was awarded first prize on April 27 by the Fol movement for his research into the purchase of an official limo in 2021 for the municipal enterprise Prishtina Urban Traffic.

The research revealed that the tender for the indirect purchase of the former chairman’s personal car was put at a price that was twice as high as the market price.

Following publication of the investigation, on March 14 the Directorate for the Investigation of Economic Crimes and Corruption in Prishtina arrested four persons suspected of abusing their official position or authority and involvement in a conflict of interest.

Among those arrested were Ruhan Beha, former chairman of Urban Traffic’s board of directors, Lulzim Rexhepaj, former head of Urban Traffic and Florent Tahiraj, secretary of Urban Traffic.

“I am very happy with the work; it is not easy to report on public procurement but it is great when it manages to identify abuses in this area. After the research we did, three people were arrested. It is a rare case when people of this category are arrested after a journalistic investigation,” Fana said during the awards ceremony.

Journalist Egzon Dahsyla was awarded third prize by the Fol movement for researching into a tender of the municipality of Gjakova/Dakovica for the treatment of a landfill.

Some 461,000 euros were spent on treatment of the landfill on the outskirts of the city, which is still there.

An agreement between the mayor of the municipality, Ardian Gjini, and Kosovo’s former Minister of Economy, Blerim Kuci, in 2020, foresaw that the ministry would allocate 400,000 euros for the treatment of the landfill, while the municipality  would contribute 20,000 euros.

The research focused on the fact that 420,000 euros was not nearly enough to treat the landfill in Gjakova/Dakovica.

“This story shows how an institution misused public money. I believe that if there are serious prosecutors and brave judges, those responsible will be brought to justice. We have submitted the file to the prosecutor’s office and now it is up to them to finish it,” Dahsyla said, while receiving the award.

The FOL Movement was officially registered on 2009 as an independent NGO, based in Prishtina. Its stated mission is to contribute to good governance and fight corruption through supporting and promoting active citizenry, and by enhancing transparency and the accountability of public institutions.

28/04/2022 - 16:21

28 April 2022 - 16:21

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.