July 4, 2021

Anonymous source (SEEMO knows the identity of the source), Pristina, Kosovo (February 2021)

Q: Please if you can introduce yourself:
A: I am a whistleblower from Kosovo and I would like to stay anonymous.

Q: Why?
A: Whistleblower protection is according to a to a 2016 OECD report the ultimate line of defence for safeguarding the public interest. However, I do not have a feeling that I have a protection. That is why I like to stay anonymous. We still have to do a lot, so that everybody can easily set up a secure and anonymous whistleblowing initiative.

Q: How is to be a whistleblower in Kosovo?
A: I will describe it with the situation of one other whistleblower, his name is. Murat Mehmeti. In the year 2016, he blew the lid off of an elaborate tax-evasion scheme that existed for many years. He presented the problems in the TV show “Jeta në Kosovë” in a talk with the famous journalist Jeta Xharra. We all know Jeta, who received also the SEEMO Busek award some years ago and she did as always a great job. But the officials were very slowly. It took 3 years till the case was closed. Three years that were not easy in his life. In December 2019 Special Prosecution Office charged a former high-ranking official at the Tax Administration, with abusing his official position. According to the Prosecutor this person failed to investigate for 6 years the businesses known to be evading taxes by generating suspicious invoices. Instead to solve the problem in some weeks or months, the officials needed 3 years.

Q: What would you say about corruption in Kosovo?
A: It is a big problem and we have also numerous reports on the high level of corruption in Kosovo.

Q: What is the legal position of a whistleblower in Kosovo?
A: Kosovo has adopted some important legal regulations. The law meets international standards, including the latest EU Directive. I would say, it is in line with the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Protection of Whistleblowers. Expectations for the results of the law are very high, but I think it will need time till we have real results. Many people in Kosovo still have to understand what a whistleblower is, and how important this perons for the society and democracy and fight against corruption is. We should not forget, that in Kosovo, especially because of strong family connections and connectionts between business and politics, many peoplse see a whistleblower as a traitor.

Positive is, that according to the legal regulations, a public employer with over 15 employees, and a private employer, which has more than 50 employees, are obliged to appoint a responsible official

I think that for understanding the situation in Kosovo is important the document “Public Whistleblowing” for non-implementation of Law for protection of whistleblowers: (Analysis of implementation of Law on the Protection of Whistleblowers by public institutions).”. This document was published by Kosovo Law Institute (KLI) in 2020. In this document KLI has monitored the implementation and non-implementation of the legal obligations. From all the institutions that have responded to the requests, at least one of them has not appointed the responsible official for whistleblowing cases. In at least 7 cases, public institutions have appointed the official responsible for the cases of whistleblowing only after KLI has sent a request for information. A number of 23 institutions have violated the legal deadline of six months. Positive is that 51 legal sujbects have announced that they have provided written instructions to the staff regarding the procedures of whistleblowing. but in general, it is clear that we had still one year after the new regulations lot of problems for whistleblowers in Kosovo.

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