Court obliges ministry of economy to reveal public documents

Source/Author: Association of Journalist of Kosovo
Source/Photo: Photo by: AJK

PRISTINA, 11.01.2018 – The Basic Court in Pristina ruled in favour to a consortium of NGO’s that requested four and a half years ago access to contract between Pristina’s government and KEDS, Turkish company that runs Kosovo’s electric power distribution network since June 2012.

The verdict of the Basic Court in Pristina dated January 9th this year that the Ministry of Economic Development and the Kosovo’s Energy Corporation (KEK) are found to have violated country’s Constitution and the law on access to public documents.

GAP, think tank based in Pristina, on behalf of KOSID, Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development, have filed a request on freedom of information to ministry and KEK asking the contract that was signed between Kosovo’s government and Turkish company, Limak-Calik, in amount of 26.3 million euro. The ministry refused access to this and other contracts from privatisation claiming to be classified documents.

GAP introduced its lawsuit on June 3, 2013 at the Basic Court in Pristina. Almost five years later, the court ruled that ministry of economic development is obliged within 30 days to allow access to requested documents.

Agron Demi from GAP stated that they are satisfied reaching this goal which aims to increase transparency and accountability in the process of privatisation and energy too. “Unfortunately, the verdict does not have any particular impact because such processes (of privatisation) have already passed,” Demi, policy analyst at GAP told AJK.

The verdict, Demi opines, brought to attention three points that include: draft documents are subject to access to public documents, if such documents are of public interest – the institutions can no longer call on confidentiality and public enterprises are subject to the law on access to public documents.

Demi said that the office will send again another request to ministry of economy to have access to five important documents related to privatisation process of KEDS, including the final contract between Kosovo’s government and the winning consortium.

In the reaction of NGO consortium it is stated that the ministry has kept also out of public reach the list of assets of privatisation of KEDS. The list included four hydro-plants in Kosovo that were sold secretly even from Kosovo’s Assembly.

“KOSID evaluates that blocking access in the assets of KEDS at the time when the request was filed, it would have prevented harm of public interest”, KOSID’s press release reads.

KOSID expressed disappointment that the verdict did not provided sentences against the institution and responsible persons that blocked access to public documents, as foreseen by the law.