Norwegians advise: Don't invest in Kosovo

Published on April 15, 2009, B92

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

OSLO -- A Norwegian company has decided to launch a website to alert potential investors to the hazards of doing business in Kosovo.

The website warns of corruption, a lack of laws and misuse of laws, human rights abuses, corruption and dodgy dealings by international personnel working in Kosovo, as well as other problems that investors might face there.

The authors of the website emphasize that the project is “in the best interests of the citizens of Kosovo and others that have, or could be, affected by Kosovo's abused, corrupt, collapsed and politically controlled justice system.”

This website is expected to be complete by May 1, 2009, when documentation will be published on a case in which the Norway Invest company suffered major losses.

According to a press release on the website, “Norway Invest ran two major projects in Kosovo during the 2001-2003 period, but, in 2003, it was forced to withdraw after it realized that its Kosovo partners would not honor the agreement.“

The projects in question included an emergency communication network and a digital e-government data center, called the Kosovo Data Centre.

The company signed two separate agreements for the two projects, one with Kosovo Post and Telecom (PTK) on November 20, 2002, and the other with the Kosovo Privatisation Agency (KTA) on November 11, 2003.

According to the site, the company was forced to pull out of the province despite having invested EUR 2.8mn in the two projects.

“PTK and KTA have hung on to and changed as many facts and figures regarding these cases as they can,“ reads a statement from lawyer Betim Shalja.

He claims that not only did the Kosovo authorities scupper the project, but even launched proceedings against the PTK managing director and the CEO of Norway Invest’s subsidiary in Kosovo, Mustafa Naziri, in a court action which they “influenced through intentional and orchestrated illegal activities.“

Kosovo government representative Memli Krasniqi dismissed the allegations, stating that the companies in question were run by individuals that were trying to tarnish Priština’s reputation for their own personal reasons, states Kosovo daily Koha Ditore.

He called on the site’s founders to address the courts to receive compensation for any damages incurred.

Shalja, however, said that the site would soon be featuring all the documents that show “how dangerous it is to invest in Kosovo.“

Norway recognized the province’s unilateral independence on February 20, 2008.

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