A large-scale raid on Friday in Pristina, Ferizaj/Urosevac and Shterpce/Strpce – the second such raid linked to the ‘Brezovica’ case – resulted in seven more arrests.
As a follow-up to the December 21 action concerning construction sites in Brezovica, where police arrested ten people, including the ex-mayor of Shterpce/Strpce, in an operation targeting corruption connected to the alleged illegal construction of villas at this tourism site, another 10 raids on Friday took in the offices of the Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure.
In the second part of the operation codenamed “Brezovica”, seven people were arrested, among them the former Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Arben Çitaku, and Bedri Halimi, Chief Inspector in the ministry, and five others.
The chief prosecutor of Ferizaj, Shukri Jashari, who was overseeing the action in Shterpce/Strpce confirmed this, adding that several locations were raided. “We are on the second day of the continuation of the action codenamed Brezovica and several locations are being raided,” Jashari said.
Four actions took place in Shterpce/Strpce, two in Ferizaj/Urosevac and four in Pristina.
Ministry officials are suspected of taking bribes.
On December 21, in the first part of the operation, ten people were arrested, including the former mayor of Shterpce/Strpce, Bratislav Nikolic. As mayor from 2014 to 2018, he allegedly accepted bribes of money and gifts in order to issue construction permits in the Sharri National Park in the area of Brezovica.
The prosecution claims Nikolic accepted a bribe of 210,000 euros for the issue of 21 construction permits for weekend houses for the investor Stella Consulting, as well as taking another 200,000 euros for the construction permit of the hotel Stella Consulting.
Nikolic is suspected of the criminal offence of “Exercising Influence”, that is, influencing the decisions of officials to issue construction permits.
Since the Kosovo war ended, many villas have been built in Brezovica, some of which allegedly belong to politicians and officials, and whose ownership is unclear.
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