Kosovo Ex-Deputy PM’s Trial Set for January

The corruption trial known as ‘Tolaj et al’ will start in January, a judge from the EU rule of law mission, EULEX, announced on Monday.A court has set January 10 2013, as the first date for the trial of Kosovo’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Bujar Bukoshi, accused of corruption in connection to the Ilir Tolaj case.

A mixed panel of judges chaired by Camila Pek of EULEX on Monday set the schedule for the main hearing against 11 former Ministry of Health officials for January and February.

Bukoshi is one of a group of defendants charged with abusing their official positions and accepting bribes to award health contracts in the case known as “Ilir Tolaj et al.”

Prosecutor Maria Bamief has added a new item in the indictment against Bukoshi, accusing him of illegally reinstating Ilir Tolaj as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health while he was minister.

Bukoshi’s attorney, Besnik Berisha, accused the prosecutor of “continuing with innovations in the case”.

The EULEX prosecutor charges Bukoshi with holding private meetings with companies that participated in tenders before issuing decisions on whom to award contracts when he was Minister of Health in 2008.

Bukoshi resigned in July 2012 after the EU rule of law mission announced that he was being investigated in connection to charges against Tolaj.

Tolaj, former permanent secretary at the Ministry, was arrested in 2010 by EULEX police and the Kosovo Police Anti-Corruption Task Force in the context of a criminal investigation into tax evasion.

Tolaj was later charged, together with other nine defendants, on 10 counts, ranging from abuse of official position to taking bribes from private companies.

The government said Bukoshi stepped down as Deputy Prime Minister out of respect for legal procedures and to give justice institutions room to do their work.

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