From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
Kosovo Minister Invites Guardia di Finanza to Audit State Treasury

Kosovo’s Minister of Finances, Hykmete Bajrami has requested assistance from the Italian authorities to support the investigation of the theft of EUR 2 million euro from the State Treasury.

Bajrami said that after the theft at the Treasury, she sent a letter to the Italian ambassador Nicola Orlando, requesting for the Treasury to be audited.

“I also asked the European Union ambassador, Mr Thomas Szunyog for the financial support from the EU for the Guardia di Finanza to audit the Treasury”, Bajrami wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening.

Bajrami said that the fight against thieves will continue with all possible local and international capacities “despite the connections of those who commit crimes” as she begins her post with “against thieves with the Guardia di Finanza”.

She explained that on October 6, 2020, Guardia di Finanza and the Italian ambassador to Prishtina, Nicola Orlando visited the Ministry of Finance.

“We held a working meeting which was attended by representatives of Tax Administration of Kosovo, Customs and the Financial Intelligence Unit,” she said adding that they discussed a possible joint project that would be funded by the EU.

“The purpose of this cooperation is fighting the evasion, informality, smuggling, money laundering and other illegal activities that harm public finances. In that meeting, we agreed that our institutions identify areas where they want cooperation, which they did in time,” Bajrami said.

Bajrami’s request sparked a reaction by the opposition Kosovo Democratic Party’s MP, Ganimete Musliu.

“How much does this invitation of yours cost, Mrs Minister? Who pays those gentlemen of the Guardia di Finanza? You are paid with people’s money and you invite Italians to do your job, also with people’s money!!!” Musliu wrote on Facebook.

“Aren’t you ashamed?” she added.

The theft at the State Treasury happened on October 9 this year. An official who has worked in this institution for 11 years was arrested as suspected of having transferred about EUR 2.1 million to the account of an economic operator.