Following an earlier BIRN report, the Basic Prosecutor's Office in Prishtina has filed an indictment against a doctor who allegedly participated in the job interview of a relative.
Nepotism as a word originated from the Italian word nipote, which means ‘nephew’. A doctor in Podujeva seems to have taken the word too literally when he interviewed his own niece for a job at a public clinic.
In September 2022, BIRN published an investigation into serious suspected violations of hiring procedures at the Family Medicine Center in Podujeva, where Doctor Gëzim Thaçi allegedly participated in the interview of his niece, Blerta Latifi.
According to the indictment, published on Thursday, Thaçi, a doctor at the named center, “personally participated in an official matter related to the selection of a doctor of dentistry at the Podujeva Medical Center; that doctor being his niece.”
According to the Basic Prosecution Office, the recruitment was canceled following verification of the relationship.
“In his capacity as a member of the committee for the evaluation of candidates in the written test and oral interview, he recommended that the same [his niece] be selected as a Doctor of Dentistry, in the competition published on 09.06.2022. After verifying the family relationship, this competition has been canceled,” the indictment states.
The State Prosecutor proposed to the Court that the defendant be declared guilty and punished according to the law for the criminal offense he is charged with.
Blerta Latifi received 94.5 points from the evaluation committee, which included her relative, Gëzim Thaçi. Latifi had received 21 points more than the second highest scoring candidate who had 73.9 points. Meanwhile, there were 8 candidates competing for this position.
In September 2022 BIRN sources claimed that Gëzim Thaçi and the selected candidate Blerta Latifi were uncle and niece (maternal uncle), but neither declared conflict of interests before the process of testing and interviews.
At that time, BIRN contacted Blerta Latifi, who did not respond, while Thaçi suggested contacting the municipality of Podujeva.
In a response to BIRN enquiries, the municipality of Podujeva admitted that Thaci participated in the interview process. On September 2, 2022 Fatri Zhitia, spokesperson of the Municipality of Podujeva confirmed the family relationship between the evaluation committee member and the employed dentist, Blerta Latifi.
In addition to Thaçi, the evaluation committee included: Bajram Bajgora – chairman, Adelina Stublla – member, Elfete Salihu – member and Jehona Havolli – member.
The Law on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest provides that officials must declare if they have private interests:
“Each official during the exercise of his public function, based on his knowledge and in good faith, is obliged to make a preliminary self-declaration, case by case, of the existence of his private interest or that of persons related to him in decision-making in a certain issue, which may cause a conflict of interest to arise and withdraw from this decision-making”, states Article 17.
02 March 2023 - 22:28
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