A Kosovo court has postponed for three weeks the hearings to confirm the corruption indictment against 11 former senior officials, including the ex Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi.
Due to technical problems and sheer volume of the documents presented at the hearing on Thursday, the court was unable to confirm the indictment raised by EULEX prosecutor Maria Bamieh. The prosecutor said that she had gathered over 25,000 documents.
Kosovo’s former Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi will continue to be part of a wider group of defendants charged with abuse of official position and accepting bribes to award major health contracts, after Pristina’s District Court refused his request to be tried separately.
Bukoshi’s lawyer, Destan Rukiqi, argued that his client is not in any way linked with the corruption charges, and it would help the court if his client’s case is separated from the ongoing “Ilir Tolaj et al” proceedings.
The prosecutor told the court that the defence’s argument does not stand.
“Bujar Bukoshi interacted with other defendants. He handed over a report against the company Jona Med, and for that reason the company was excluded for years from the tender processes of the ministry. There are big differences in what Tolaj and Bukoshi claim,” Bamieh said.
Bukoshi is suspected of misusing his public position during his time as Minister of Health in 2008.
He resigned last month, after EULEX announced that he was being investigated for his connection to the charges against his former Secretary General of the Ministry of Health, Ilir Tolaj.
Tolaj, the former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, 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.
Later, Tolaj was charged, together with other nine defendants, all former Ministry of Health officials, with 10 counts ranging from abuse of official position to taking bribes from private companies.
The government said that Bukoshi stepped down from the post of Deputy Prime Minister out of respect for the legal procedures and to create the necessary space for the justice institutions to do their work.
The next hearings are scheduled for August 21, 22 and 23.