By Linda Karadaku
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) is auditing the management of EU taxpayers’ funds allocated for Kosovo from 2007 to 2011, including the budget of the costliest European mission, EULEX. The Mission has a budget of about 150m euros annually, according to Europolitics.
The court was established in 1975, conducting the audit of EU finances as an external auditor that “acts as the independent guardian of the financial interests of the citizens of the Union.”
“This audit, like all other ECA audits, is in line with our mission to audit the EU budget, that is, to audit expenditure made through the EU budget. The audit …started in the summer 2011, and is likely to be published in early 2013,” Aidas Palubinskas, court communications officer, told SETimes.
The Kosovo EU office said audits should be expected given the amount of EU money spent in Kosovo.
“The EU has supported Kosovo with around 3 billion euros since 1999, including the UNMIK, EULEX, and ICO structures. EU financial assistance to Kosovo has been subject to normal EU financial control and audit procedures,” Fjolla Ceku, information and communication officer at the EU Kosovo, told SETimes.
The Kosovo daily Koha Ditore reported audit details on Wednesday (July 4th), stating that the EP is asking EULEX to be more dedicated in investigating what happened with millions of euros donated to Pristina airport and KEK, the Kosovo power company.
Radio Kosovo quoted James Duch, EP spokesperson, as saying there is a report on these two cases and others, dating since the time Kosovo was run by UNMIK, which have not been financially clarified yet.
Koha Ditore reported that EP officials talked about at least 27 corruption cases that have not been investigated, out of which are 12 serious corruption cases, including millions of misused euros.
Avni Zogiani, head of Cohu, Kosovo’s anti-corruption organisation, said a good part of the EU funds ended up in the energy sector.
“We found out that tens of millions of euros were given to some companies that have connections with politics. There was a time when these companies were selling to KEK refurbished scrap for new equipment. The equipment worked for a few days, or not at all,” Zogiani told SETimes.
He said that even though these companies did not respect the contracts, they continued to receive tenders in the energy sector.
“I think Kosovo people should know what was spent for assistance in different sectors for their sake. It would be good to have a serious investigation of these funds,” Zogiani said.
Most of ECA audits result in special reports and are submitted to the EP, which then uses them for a budgetary discharge procedure.