PRESIDENT ATIFETE JAHJAGAS SPEECH AT THE CONCLUDING MEETING OF THE NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COUNCILAt the concluding meeting of the National Anti- Corruption Council for the year 2012, we wanted to offer an overview of the coordinated work and activities of the institutions and mechanisms mandated to fight these phenomena.
Honourable Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Jakup Krasniqi,
Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Hashim Thaçi,
Honourable Ministers of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable representatives of the Judiciary of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable representatives of the State Prosecution of the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable representatives of the Kosovo Police,
Honourable representatives of the Civil Society,
Honourable Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Kosovo,
Honourable representatives of the international organisation in Kosovo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the concluding meeting of the National Anti- Corruption Council for the year 2012, we wanted to offer an overview of the coordinated work and activities of the institutions and mechanisms mandated to fight these phenomena.
It was necessary, at the National Anti-Corruption Council, to achieve coordination, regular communication and joint debate while fully respecting constitutional and legal responsibilities and upholding the institutional independence of everyone.
Fight against corruption is not a battle that only the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo must undertake, it is also an engagement of the whole of our society with the aim to establish fully the principle of rule of law and order, based upon building of a legal state.
This fight must be all-inclusive and transparent one.
A society with a high degree of corruption, real or just perceived, especially corruptive affairs within institutions, reflects a negative image within the country itself as well as on the international stage. This negative reflection may only be changed by provisions of concrete and tangible results in fight against corruption.
There was no lack of engagement and dedication during this year, regardless, no one of us is satisfied because we still have a lot to do. It is to be appreciated though, that due to our engagements, positive results of our activities were mentioned at findings of certain international reports that evaluate the Republic of Kosovo in better terms in relation to the fight against corruption.
At our meetings, we have pinpointed and evidenced certain deficiencies in legislation and administrative functioning. These improvements have been achieved by modifying and adjusting the rules and procedures for the purpose of a better coordination. All institutions have made positive changes in the field of legislation and administrative organisation that already reflect in a better coordination.
These are initial successes, but they are not sufficient.
We must fight this phenomenon with a stronger determination, in order to create a better future for the coming generations. It is our moral and legal obligation to make Kosovo a prosperous country, a country of order and rule of law.
We must further intensify our coordination, not only within the Council but among ourselves as well. For a proper functioning of our democratic system, the integrity of the institutions that will enable our functioning as a unique collective must be guaranteed.
The continuation of the full inclusiveness is crucial. Corruption as a phenomenon must be fought by all of us.
Improvement of the image of Kosovo helps our movement ahead. Only in this manner we may guarantee economic progress and social wellbeing. International investors are interested to carry out their activities only in functional society where their investments are protected by the institutions and the business climate is secure.
We have improved legislation and the workings of the administration, but there still remains work to be done. There are some specific laws that require amendments based on the European Union standards. We also need to increase our efficiency in the implementation of existing laws. There is political will for this, but it remains a responsibility of all of us to convert this will into concrete results.
Anti-Corruption Agency has shown positive results that would surely be greater by strengthening, clarification of the coordination of this agency with other institutions, and by definition of certain issues that are related to the penal prosecution and concrete acts of corruption.
Kosovo Police is undertaking increased efforts in increasement of its specialist capacities in pursuance of corruptive cases that will show positive results in information gathering and a higher professionalism in case building.
Kosovo Prosecutorial Council has undertaken certain steps by means of which they have strengthened the role of the Prosecution in pursuance of corruptive cases. Internal capacities of the Prosecution must be increased and the high integrity standard of the young prosecutors must be upheld.
Kosovo Judicial Council has prioritised corruptive cases. A better planification for the dispersion of cases must be continued, in order to decrease the number of existing cases and to increase the efficiency of judges at all levels and to finalise a bigger number of corruption cases within the calendar year.
Along with the successes and identification of the challenges ahead of us, we must start to build concrete policies.
It is essential that we continue the systemic and structural reforms by converging as much as possible to European standards, but also by incorporating our specific circumstances with particular and temporary solutions in order to be more efficient in uprooting of the corruption.
We must increase the efficiency in pursuance of the corruptive cases, from the reporting stage to the final decision, conclude cases and take appropriate decisions. We do not want the citizens who report corruptive cases to get disappointed with the investigative and judicial system due to procedural prolongments.
We all agree that we must show more attention to the field of procurement, as a field that is more sensitive to corruptive attacks and other malpractices whose negative effects are mostly felt by the citizen and the society.
We must have immediate and efficient control of all the tendering parameters.
Capacity rising is a must towards the efficiency increase of the Central Procurement Agency, Public Procurement Regulatory Commission, Procurement Review Body, who exercise their duties as foreseen by the law.
It is very important to expedite our work in relation to the recomedations that stem from the European Commissions Feasibility Study for Kosovo on fulfilment of short term criteria.
We are not doing this for the sake of European Union, but it is our conviction and dedication to do it for us, the citizens of Kosovo, in order to have a more peaceful and secure environment. We must prove our clear engagement to provide results in the fight against organised crime and corruption including the initiation of investigations on every case and anyone involved, while respecting the principle that no one is above the law and that there are no untouchables in our society.
Our citizens want us to be responsible and clean, and to be accountable while we work with dedication for a brighter future for the country.
We will be able to enact these engagements in continuous and close cooperation with EULEX and Special Prosecution.
Fulfilment of these criteria includes the approval of the law on confiscation of property and wealth as well as compliance and conformity of other relevant laws with the Acquis Communitaire. All these engagements must be crowned with the approval of the Anti-Corruption Strategy as soon as possible.
Corruption extends beyond national boundaries and becomes transnational, and this can be prevented by declaration of wealth and property, declaration of the origin of property, through completion of payments through bank transactions and by membership of Kosovo in international justice and security organisations.
Another ravenous shape of corruption is the fiscal evasion, respectively the removal of cash abroad which is related to the illegal activity.
Uprooting of corruption has a positive effect upon Kosovos international image and upon the process of further recognitions.
The activity of the National Anti-Corruption Council reflects positively on the work of each and every one of us. Next year we will be continuing our cooperation in a more concrete manner, we will meet, coordinate and align our activities.
The better we work the bigger the success of this battle will be, and greater the confidence of our citizens upon us and the values of a democratic society.
This is a long road and full of challenges, a road that we will successfully traverse, as this is our will and dedication.