Kosovo Parties Split Over Energy Corporation Head’s Arrest

The arrest of the director of the Kosovo Energy Corporation, who has ties to the ruling party, has sparked diverging reactions – with government MPs calling it 'revenge' and the opposition hailing it as proof of government abuse of the energy sector.

The arrest of the director of the Kosovo Energy Corporation, KEK, has drawn completely different reactions from the ruling and opposition parties.

Members of the former deemed it “revenge” by the acting Chief State Prosecutor while the opposition described it as proof of government abuse in the energy sector.

Kosovo’s Prosecutorial Council on Thursday said that “some senior state officials are trying to systematically influence the affairs of the prosecutorial system and are conveying tendentious political messages … using derogatory language against the … candidate for Chief State Prosecutor, Blerim Isufaj, which is against all ethical, legal and constitutional norms”.

Nagip Krasniqi, director of KEK, was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of misuse of his position or official authority, exercise of influence and conflict of interest.

His lawyer, Taulant Ferizi, told BIRN the raid on his client’s house on Wednesday was against legal procedures because there was no written order, only a verbal one.

Ferizi said suspicions against his client “are related to two contracts in the procurement sector concluded between the KEK and economic operators”.

MPs of the ruling Vetevendosje party claimed the arrest was revenge by Acting Chief State Prosecutor Blerim Isufaj, who does not have the support of Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, PM Albin Kurti and Parliament Speaker Glauk Konjufca to be made Chief State Prosecutor.

Isufaj was voted in as Head Prosecutor in April 2022 and his file is awaiting President’s decree.

“Is he taking revenge for not being able to become Chief Prosecutor?” MP Artan Abrashi asked on Facebook. Another MP, Arber Rexhaj, wrote: “Yet, you [Isufaj] want to become the Chief Prosecutor at any cost and at any price?! He has great embarrassment somewhere and not even a little support from anyone.”

Opposition parties saw the matter differently, claiming that the arrest shows the ruling party has abused the energy sector during its time in power.

The chair of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, Memli Krasniqi, claimed the arrest of the KEK head, who also is “former head of the Committee for Energy in the Vetevendosje Movement, Nagip Krasniqi, is the best proof of what we have been saying for months – that the Kurti government has committed the biggest abuses precisely in the energy sector, through corrupt schemes and misuse of the absolute power that they have installed in this sector”.

Krasniqi was elected director of the KEK in October 2021 by a temporary board, appointed by the Kurti-led government at the time, without a public competition. However, he also received the highest points from the monitors of the British embassy in Kosovo.

The leader of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK,  Lumir Abdixhiku, also claimed the arrest is proof of government abuse in the energy sector.

“The A5 block of KEK [in one of the coal power plants] is non-functional for 10 months now,” Abdixhiku said, adding that “Its simple maintenance would not take more than two months. It was in the interest of the energy mafia that this Block did not produce electricity. Because as long as it was out of order, Kosovo was forced to import energy. Only during the first 11 days of April, Kosovo imported 5.4 million euros of electricity. There is no other business where 5.4 million euros can be generated in just 11 days.”

According to Abdixhiku, the money spent on importing electricity was “enough to cover 45,000 pensions, or to build nine nurseries for children”.

and 20/04/2023 - 14:05

20 April 2023 - 14:05

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