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Municipal officials have benefited from the expropriation of land along the route for Kosovo’s new highway, an investigation has revealed.
Five municipal officials from Malisheva have benefited from the expropriation of land for the construction of the national highway, according to an investigation by Balkan Insight.
The land, nationalised in 1958 by the Yugoslav regime and taken over by the public firm Mirusha, was bought by the municipal assembly member Ahmet Rahmanaj for 11 euro per acre when it was privatised in 2007.
Villagers, however, filed a series of claims at the local court claiming that they were the rightful owners before nationalisation and should, as a result, be compensated.
However, due to an administrative error these cases have never been dealt with in the appropriate court – the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court. The land has-now been expropriated by the government in order to construct a section of the new highway.
The land was sold by the Privatisation Agency to Rahmanaj at 11 euro per acre, and has now been sold back to the government for around 600 euro an acre.
According to government expropriation records, some of the former Mirusha land was also been sold on to other municipal officials at Malisheva, including Nuhi Shala, head of the cadastral office, head of procurement Elmi Pacarizit and Male Krasniqi, another official.
Hazir Hoxha, representative of the Bellanica village, near Malisheva, told Balkan Insight the former owners should receive compensation.
More than 30 indictments were sent to the Municipal Court of Malisheva, and two others to the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, but these failed to stop the sale of the land.
According to the law on the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Municipal Court is not competent to deal nor accept files related to property disputes.
According to Sahit Sylejmani, head of the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court, the parties should have sent all their indictments to the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court.
Privatisation Agency spokesman Ylli Kaloshi said the court had issued no judgements so the sale went ahead.
Hoxha said: “Top municipal officials from Malisheva have benefited. They have benefited as they bought the acres for only 11 euro and now they sell it to the government for around 1,000 euro,” said Hoxha.
None of the municipal officials contacted by Balkan Insight agreed to talk. While, the mayor of Malisheva, Isni Kila denied the fact that any municipal official were obstructing the villagers attempt to reclaim their property.
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