Photo: BIRN

Kosovo Privatization Agency Takes Over Winery With Police Aid

Assisted by the Kosovo Police, the KPA on Thursday took over ownership of the Agro Kosova Holding winery in Suhareka, which had failed to fulfill its contract.

The KPA with police help took over the winery amid an incident involving a journalist. Asked to leave the premises, a cameraman was detained then released,  by police.

On January 31, the KPA Board of Directors withdrew its shares in the winery and placed them under the management of a new enterprise, Agro Kosova Holding (former Socially Owned Enterprise NBI Suhareka).

NBI Suhareka/Agro Kosova Holding’ was privatized on August 27, 2007.  Gruppo Vinicolo Fantinel and QMI boufght it via a special “spin-off” in the 19th wave of privatisation sales for 4,175,999 euros.

The KPS explanation said that the buyer had damaged and reduced the value of the enterprise through illegal gain during the expropriation of some parts of the enterprise by the Kosovo government to construct the highway to Vermica.

In this case, government expropriation funds of about 630,000 euros were transferred to the personal account of one of the shareholders of Gruppo Vinicolo Fantinel in TEB Bank, not in the account of the enterprise.

The agency said external audits had revealed a “serious breach” of the privatisation contract by the buyer, which met only 25 per cent of employment requirements and 86 per cent of investment requirements, as agreed from 2007 to 2017.

Aziz Tafaj, director, said they were obliged to vacate company premises after police warnings, despite considering the confiscation illegal. 

“The KPA’s decisions are not orders to us; they are illegal, and we said that we would not vacate the premises voluntarily,” Tafaj told the media.

“But the police told us that if we did not vacate the premises, we would be evicted by force. We have not come here to resist the police … When the police say they will evict us forcefully, this is a forceful eviction,” Tafaj said.

 A KPA press release invited current employees to continue working with the Agency and not to leave their jobs. It also invited farmers who have a contractual relationship with Agrokosova to continue working.

“KPA pledges to continue cooperation in order to improve commercial relations and economic development of the municipality of Suhareka,” it said.

“KPA pledges that with the greatest commitment will make efforts to provide the best solution for the new company Agrokosova Holding (former NBI Suhareka). 

“In the meantime, KPA will continue the activity of the enterprise with the current employees who will enter into employment relations with KPA,” the statement of KPA said.

07/02/2022 - 10:03

07 February 2022 - 10:03

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