Kosovo’s Limaj May be Indicted in October

The investigation into alleged corruption in the Ministry of Transport may result in an indictment of former minister Fatmir Limaj being issued in October.Limaj, now an MP in parliament from the ranks of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, may be soon charged with corruption during his time as the Minister of Transport, Post and Telecommunications, sources have told BIRN.The EU rule of law mission to Kosovo, EULEX, has apparently prepared an indictment that it plans to send to the courts as early as October.

EULEX has not commented on the reports, although the Ministry of Transport has been under investigation by the European mission since April 2010, when police raided the ministry and properties connected to Limaj in Pristina.

The operation was part of a corruption probe linked to road tenders issued between 2007 and 2009. Limaj has denied any wrongdoing during his time as the head of the ministry.

The initial investigation exceeded the time limit of 24 months on April 23. This prevents the Special Prosecution Office of Kosovo, SPRK, from undertaking further “investigative actions” into the charges.

EULEX spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi told BIRN that “investigative actions” refer to, but are not limited to, such actions as house searches and arrests.

However, “the time limit of 24 months does not apply to possible additional charges or against possible additional defendants that are added at a later stage of the investigation,” he explained.

A Balkan Insight investigation revealed that a number of lucrative building contracts appear to have gone to friends and relatives of Limaj. [See Kosovo Minister’s Friends Flourish from Road Bonanza].

“On-going analysis of the information collected to date will continue in order to make the final assessment of the case at a later stage,” EULEX told BIRN.

Limaj was recently freed from another case, related to war crimes during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo.

On May 2, a mixed panel of European and Kosovo Judges at Pristina’s District Court announced that they had found no evidence to justify continuing the trial against 10 former fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army including Limaj accused of war crimes.

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