B92 airs last Kosovo series episode

BELGRADE -- B92 TV has aired the last episode of its Insider series dubbed “Patriotic Pillage” which revealed evidence of misappropriation of money intended for Kosovo.

The funds allocated from the Serbian budget for Serbian population in the southern province has been misappropriated for years.

According to Insider’s information, Serbia has allocated at least EUR 2.8bn for Kosovo in the last 12 years. Due to the lack of control, the funds have been misappropriated and a large number of citizens in Kosovo continue to live in very difficult conditions. Individuals became rich while they were hiding behind the story about patriots and traitors.

The state has secured enormous incomes to individuals in both Kosovo and central Serbia under the slogan “Kosovo is a heart of Serbia” and with an excuse that it helps those in need.

According to Insider, the Serbian citizens have on the average been allocating at least EUR 650,000 a day for the past 12 years. Every way the money is allocated is full of various abuses, the Insider team has learnt.

The biggest part of the money has been invested in the financing of relocated or fictitious institutions and public companies in order to support the idea that Serbs still have the authority in parts of Kosovo that have been under the Albanian control for a long time. At the same time, those who never had a state-funded job are barely surviving.

The Serbian citizens have under the guise of helping the Serbs in need financed projects that have never been finished. The reconstruction of houses in the Kosovsko pomoravlje district damaged in an earthquake cost EUR 16mn but numerous houses still have not been finished. A gerontology center and four buildings intended for internally displaced families have never been built in northern Kosovo so many people still live in refugee camps across Serbia or in housing containers and collective centers in Kosovo. All construction projects were led by companies with strong political ties in both Kosovo and Belgrade.

At least EUR 14mn was spent on a project that included purchase of Kosovo Albanians’ apartments in the north and the price of real-estate was artificially hiked. The additional money disappeared somewhere between the organizers and middlemen. The apartments were supposed to be given to the poorest families but they were in fact given to individuals with political ties.

Salesmen and smugglers took advantage of the Serbian government’s regulation that abolished VAT on goods intended for Kosovo. They made profit on the price difference but the goods were not any cheaper in Kosovo and damages were incurred to the Serbian budget every time the goods returned to Serbia due to the lack of control.

The evidence released in the Patriotic Pillage series was obtained from official institutions in accordance with the Law on Availability of Information. This means that all institutions in Serbia are aware of how much money is allocated for Kosovo but have so far done nothing to prevent the abuse.

Such system is, among other things, defended with barricades and incidents, especially in northern Kosovo and persons with business, criminal and political ties usually take part in it.

In the meantime, the poorest citizens rely on the modest aid of NGOs and soup kitchens. To this day, they still have not received much of the funds invested in Kosovo.

Even though the last Patriotic Pillage episode was aired on Monday, the Insider team will continue its work regarding the issue and the public will be able to follow the story through B92 news reports and on the Insider webpage.