Prishtinë, 05 August 2012
The energy sector in Kosovo is dominated by international organizations, consultants and companies. The ongoing international consultancy and endless investments have not increased the efficiency of this sector. No one in KEK has ever provided accountability for the failure of investments worth millions of Euros, but neither for the fact that, despite numerous international consultants and extensive natural resources, it was never put in its own feet. Kosovo sits on the fifth reserve of lignite in the world, but continues to face cuts more than any other country in the region. A good chunk of the investments in KEK have failed, whereas electricity is still bought five times more expensive than the price it exports energy out of Kosovo.
The energetic potential of Kosovo is enormous, and important international documents portray the energy sector of Kosovo as a very important supplier for the Balkans. By analyzing the manner by which this sector has been managed, several paradoxes can be observed. The numerous investments through the tutoring of international consulting companies can be considered as having failed in establishing a sustainable energy sector.
The same foreign companies and individuals, who “advised” the Government of Kosovo to fail the energy sector, continue to deal with research and analysis which prepare this sector for privatization. The failure of this consultancy has never been established by their employer, which in this case is the Government of Kosovo, but the truth is that, with all their expertise, KEK never became a profitable enterprise. This is most due to the fact that the institutions of Kosovo almost never dealt with devising policies in this sector, but instead had a minor role even in the management level of the only important enterprise for energy in Kosovo, KEK.
What characterizes this sector is the lack of measures against persons and companies which burnt million of euros of investments, although at cases these failures of investments have appeared to be sabotage against this enterprise. Furthermore, in some cases of failed investments, there are cases when companies which undertook the updating of equipments worth million of euros have continued to be rewarded with tenders by KEK, although they sold this enterprise broken parts and have damaged it in millions of euros.
The representatives of KEK give contradictory answers, or do not answer at all when asked as regards the damaging of KEK by the different companies. Through the influence of foreign advisors and their connections with foreign companies, KEK has done purchases with prices much higher through one-source tenders, purchases which often failed, whereas cheaper offers were refused.
Leveling the Playing Field
The foreign advisors still control the KEK management. But even these advisors have their “boss”, and he is Masoud Keyan, who has been involved in KEK in 2007, almost at the same time as ex-director Pranvera Dobruna. According to people who have worked and continue to work in KEK, Keyan all this time has been the main man in this corporation, and nothing can be done without his “amen”. Masoud is contracted through USAID as representative of “PA Consulting” company, but even though the consulting company has changed, Keyan has remained stoic even with the following company in KEK, “Tetra Tech”. All those who have objected him have been dismissed from work and were replaced with obedient people who sign all his requests.
“Preportr” has found a list with tens of people who have been fired from work within months, without properly evaluating their performance. According to people who have worked in KEK and who know the circumstances there, all this was carried out by Keyan as cleansing of the terrain from people who could “get in his way”.
According to a list obtained by “Preportr”, the following have been fired: Visar Kelmendi, Fëllanza Hoxha, Fëllanza Pula, Selami Gashi, Lazër Krasniqi, Shemsedin Klaiqi, Farhedin Maqestena, Nazmi Gashi. This list does not end with these names. An internal communication shows the pressure that international consultants have exerted to the management in order to fire other employees due to their “weak performances”.
Representatives of the syndicate of Elektrokosova say that, apart from these managers, there are more people who have been fired in the level of districts. Their number reaches tens, and none of them was given a specific reason for being fired. Furthermore, according to heads of the Syndicate of Elektrokosova, the employees who are fired from KEK do not have the right to appeal. They are mainly people with decade-long experience in their work, who did not agree with the manner of management of KEK under the fist of Keyan.
The domination of foreign advisors has now become a trend of managing KEK, since even “smaller” advisors now give executive orders, recommending opening of vacancies on continuous basis, and firing employees who have been working there for years, supposedly due to bad performances.
According to a written communication obtained by “Preportr”, one of the foreign advisors, Babukhadia Irakli has ordered regional district managers the immediate dismissal of employees working in collection. The language used in this email is commanding and executive, reminding the managers that if the changes to the District Regulation are not implemented, there will be administrative measures against them. “Bad performance” is used as a reason in this letter, but representatives of the syndicate say that these dismissals are done because there are lists prepared with other people to be employed in KEK, and therefore current employees should be fired in order to leave space for those selected by international advisors. “Preportr” has also obtained other documents where the dominating and decision-making position of foreign advisors can be observed, who in fact are bosses, with locals submitting to them.
Thank You for Helping Us to Fail
Avni Kurshumliu, who has worked in KEK for 30 years, says that Masoud Keyan has enormous power in KEK since he has the support of the prime minister himself. Moreover, he says that the KEK advisor enters in the prime minister’s office without knocking.
“The support has been very powerful and it is still today from USAID, and the pressure from the American Embassy upon the Government of Kosovo not to stray from this path and this strategy is not followed only in the executive Board, but also in the Board of Directors. So, the biggest problem in KEK is not the executives, but the board of directors who are only puppets and will raise their hands to approve any proposal” Kurshumliu has said.
The support from the Government of Kosovo and the American Embassy that Keyan enjoys is also confirmed by the ex-minister of Energy and Mines, Justina Shiroka-Pula.
“He in fact manages KEK, although he came here to improve the situation in the distribution. So, he came as an expert to improve the situation in the distribution and now his results can be seen. It is already the third Government where Masoud is part of the management directly or indirectly”, says Shiroka-Pula.
To prove his power in KEK, ex-minister Shiroka-Pula says that when she took leadership of the Ministry, she found many documents where he or his collaborator have been part of hiring people in KEK, part of tenders and various processes.
“Then later on I did not find documents where he was involved, but everyone in KEK and we know that he manages KEK because he has the support of the institution which hired him. Any little positive or negative change is done under his directives”, says she.
For all these issues, Preportr has tried to speak with the general director of KEK, Arben Gjukaj, as well as with Masoud Keyan himself, but this was not made possible to us. For an interview with Gjukaj, the Information Office of KEK has asked for a written request. Although this request was addressed on 25th of June, a meeting was not made possible.
As regards the huge influence that Keyan has in KEK tells ex-financial director of this corporation, Visar Kelmendi. He says that Keyan has come with a strategy for changing the directors.
“It has been a strategy of Masoud Keyan to create a double team of directors for each division and within six months he began with changing of directors on whom millions of euros had been invested for the development of their professionalism, and instead “hire some beginners”, uneducated, whose only asset is to say “Yes”.
According to him, every plan thereafter has been designed by internationals, and it could be observed according to the writing that it is a translation with directives from English into Albanian, “which in fact could not be understood well, but the signatures belonged to Pranvera, Remzi Shahini and Arben Gjukaj”.
“It could be seen that those documents were devised by “PA Consulting” and clearly they were merely handed over to Albanian directors to be signed and implemented. Each decision of his comes signed by KEK directors and they emerge as proposals of KEK and the Board only gives approval”, says Kelmendi.
These staff changes in KEK are seen with pessimism also by Naim Hoxha from Riinvest Institute. He considers that the immediate dismissal of some of the managers is unreasonable. “A large number of directors have been replaced in KEK, but not only directors in the general level, but also in the level of units. So we have had an enormous change which even countries with the richest staff could not be able to handle because in each unit we’ve had 6 or 7 directors who have been replaced”, says Hoxha.
He says furthermore that a big number of successfully proven engineers have been dismissed from KEK, and in this context he mentions Ali Hamiti. “It is unnatural...I am not saying it is impossible, nor am I saying that these guys who are in government are not valuable, but it is unnatural that the most qualified staff that Kosovo has in this area suddenly come out as unsuccessful and those in the periphery suddenly come out as successful”, says he.
The same thing is confirmed by the head of the Syndicate of Elektrokosova, Fehmi Pajaziti, who says that “through international directives in KEK, more workers have been dismissed and are being dismissed and replaced with others less capable in their work area”.
Fëllanza Pula has been named director of supply on date 03.04.2007 with a decision of director Pranvera Dobruna, whereas on 30.05.2007 she was removed from this post without any reason. She says that the reason for her dismissal was “lack of obedience” to sign documents proposed by Keyan. But the biggest “hassle” with Keyan was when the latter told her to sign a document stipulating that she could not cooperate with the director of the network, who at that time was Fllanza Hoxha and through this signature remove her from the position of the director, since Keyan did not like her. She says that the decision to dismiss her did not contain any reason and she requested explanations from the Board of Directors of KEK. She also appealed in the Inspectorate of Labor, but nothing was ever done.
After being fired, Fllanza Pula sued KEK and won the case, and the court ordered KEK to bring her back to work, but she was never returned to the post she used to have. She was offered another post “which never existed”. And on date 22.08.2007, acting director Remzi Shahini terminated her working relation with KEK, saying that this position does not exist and is not necessary.
The dismissal of Fllanza Pula was objected also by managers of all units of supply divisions, who requested from the Board of Directors of KEK to review the above-mentioned decision, since “director Pula has had a very good performance during her work”.
“The proposals were numerous, starting from simple ones, to requests to sign that I do not get well or we have quarrels with the director of the network. But in fact, I have had very good cooperation with the director of the network, since together we prepared beforehand the business plan and action plan on network and supply. So, one of the reasons why Masoud Keyan fired me was disobedience”. According to her, Keyan does nothing directly, but uses his influence to carry out his plans. “Unofficially he said that the director should be submissive towards the boss, and back then the boss was Pranvera Dobruna”, says Pula.
She says that Masoud was openly against women in executive positions, whereas he fired those who did not succumb to his proposals. “Masoud thinks that there should be no women in positions, he is a complete chauvinist”.
“He told me that women can talk only about hair, makeup, and clothes” says Pula. She says that she addressed Keyan’s employer for these offenses, but never received a reply.
After the decision for dismissal, Fllanza Pula says that she was offered a declaration to sign. In this declaration it was said she would not initiate any lawsuit against KEK, or any official of this corporation and she will receive 11 thousand and 400 euros due to termination of the contract. She says that she was told this document should not leak from KEK.
Since Keyan came in KEK, managers with decade-long experience have been fired. One of them was Fllanza Pula, who has worked as manager and director in Distribution for 28 years. Internal sources say that Hoxha was dismissed after some disagreements with advisor Keyan. The fact that Masoud had come with the tendency to cleanse the terrain from “disobedient people” to him is further confirmed by Visar Kelmendi, ex-financial director and Skender Krasniqi, ex-heade of board of directors in KEK.
Both of them say that they did not share the same opinions with Keyan. Skender Krasniqi says when first meeting him (at a Board meeting), when Keyan spoke from behind, he suggested him to be quiet since he did not know who he was and what he represented. He says his dismissal did not come due to this fissure, but because he himself never applied for the position of the head of the Board of Directors where he worked as acting director for six months.
Visar Kelmendi, on the other hand, says that the influence of Masoud on Pranvera Dobruna became enormous. According to him, in the first Board meeting, Dobruna said that starting from today I am director and I give my word to Masoud Keyan, and he says only a few words: ‘all you have done with ESBI is invalid and this Board will not exist anymore’.
“...before finishing his word, I inquired for explanations as to his competencies to speak before the Board, whereas he reacted strongly and the meeting was closed that day”, says Kelmendi. After a week, Pranvera shut down the division of Kelmendi and he was left unemployed.
The Mountain Goes to Mohamed
The mountain goes to Muhamet, or Muhamet goes to the Mountain? This is a metaphor that explains the importance of Masoud Keyan in KEK. In beginning of 2007, Keyan came as a contracted consultant from USAID with “PA Consulting” company. In May 2010, “PA Consulting” was also the company involved in evaluating power plant Kosova B. Later on, when Keyan is involved with the other consulting company contracted to advise KEK, according to “Kosovo Energy Sector Strategy Briefer” “Tetra Tech” does another feasibility study of the power plant Kosova B. According to experts, the last research on this power plant concluded that it had been repaired to the extent that its lifetime had been extended for several decades.
These studies were never delivered to the Government of Kosovo. Representatives of the Ministry for Economic Development, part of which is the energy sector, say that the company which did the evaluation of Kosova B simply “separated the main findings” of this evaluation, but never gave the government access to this document. However, these documents hold a special importance in building a strategy for the energy sector. Deputies of the Assembly of Kosovo say that the greatest pressure to approve the strategic document on the energy sector in the Assembly has come precisely from the international advisors. In some media statements, ex-minister Pula-Shiroka has spoken of an “enormous pressure” from international advisors in the Assembly in order to pass the Energy Strategy.
The fact that the Government of Kosovo admits that it does not possess such evaluations, such as the feasibility study on Kosova B, shows how excluded the executive is from international advisors as regards the energy sector. The Prime minister of Kosovo does not have one advisor for energy, but those who have participated in meetings for this sector say that he merely left this sector up to Keyan. Almost all local experts dealing with energy have continuously objected the strategic choices for energy.