A virtual signing ceremony marked the launch of the third phase of UNDP Kosovo’s Support to Anti-Corruption Efforts project (SAEK) for the period 2020-2024. Co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish Agency for International Development and Cooperation (Sida), the SAEK project aims to strengthen institutional transparency, accountability and integrity, with a particular focus on empowering citizens and providing access to information.
During the launching ceremony, Swiss Ambassador to Kosovo Jean-Hubert Lebet stated he is convinced that the citizens of Kosovo deserve a better future, where no one is above the law. This is why we want to further help key institutions in Kosovo in their fight against corruption, including with a new focus on the recovery of stolen assets. Ambassador Lebet added that the lack of political support continues to obstruct efforts to fight corruption, despite key instruments being in place. ‘We expect stronger determination and more tangible results moving forward. We will actively monitor the coming process and reserve the right to adjust our participation if expectations are not met’ concluded Ambassador Lebet.
The previous phases of SAEK I (2012-2016) and SAEK II (2016-2020) provided Kosovo’s institutions with legislative and policy drafting support on corruption prevention, sentencing guidelines for courts for corruption cases, public officials’ assets and income declarations, political party financing, and anti-money laundering. Increased capacities of the Anti-Corruption Agency resulted in 89 convictions, while the kallxo.com platform for reporting corruption has resulted in over 50 arrests and indictments against senior public officials. The project certified more than 40 fraud examiners within its investigative bodies working on complex corruption and financial crime cases.
Through Swiss financing, to date, SAEK has provided Kosovo with a vast array of e-tools for anti-corruption, including an online senior public officials’ assets and income declaration system; a case management system for preliminary corruption investigations; an online tool for the prosecution for investigating tax and customs financial records of targets of corruption and financial crime; Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and assets recovery databases to track personal and corporate assets – just to name a few.
SAEK’s efforts have resulted in Kosovo now having its own in-house expertise on investigating financial crime, the regular use of specially designed anti-corruption e-tools, and strong inter-agency cooperation – all of which are the foundation for an effective anti-corruption system.
Building upon these results, SAEK III aims to further strengthen transparency and accountability while focusing on the recovery of hidden stolen assets. The Swiss contribution for the period 2020-2024 amounts to CHF 2.5 million.