World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


World Bank destroyed Albanian village in joint operation with corrupted Government – a typical crime story from Balkans

February 12, 2009

This post was first published in TH!NK ABOUT IT site 12th February 2009.

The internal report shows that a project of World Bank in southern Albania led to the destruction and destitution of a powerless village Jale in 2007. The report, obtained last week by Balkan Insight , a publication run by investigative journalists in southeast Europe, also noted allegations of corruption and efforts at a cover up. The Bank has already announced the suspension of a loan for the project. World bank, the world’s largest and most influential anti-poverty institution and part of the U.N. system, is doling out $100 billion over the next three years for development projects. (Source BalkanInsight) As the case from my viewpoint is not unique exception it is maybe worth to analyze it a bit more.

The investigation by an inspection panel found that World Bank management failed to comply with its policies with respect to the design, appraisal and implementation of the project, harming the local people affected by it. The probe also found that WB assisted the demolition by pressuring local construction police to take action and by supplying them with equipment and aerial photos.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

The project

In 2005 $18 million in WP financing was provided for a vaguely-worded $39 million “coastal zone management” project that would clean up the area’s shoreline, “strengthen governance” of the zone, “enhance cultural resources,” and “encourage community support for sustainable coastal zone management.”

The World Bank only agreed to the financing after its board of directors in Washington was first assured that the Albanian government, headed by socialist Prime Minister Sali Berisha, had reached an agreement on a “moratorium” on demolitions of the houses of the Jale residents.

That assurance came in the form of a critical sentence in what is known as a “project appraisal document” (or PAD). But the statement was false. No such deal had been struck.

On April 3, 2007, the villagers were notified that their houses would be demolished. They were given five days to appeal to a local court, which they did, but the construction police did not wait for the hearing. According to the investigators, many of the dispossessed were told they should be happy, as the World Bank would soon be giving them better homes and lifestyles.

Since the World Bank board had been wrongly assured that there would be no demolitions without a formal agreement, there were, of course, no World Bank-financed homes on the horizon. (Moreover, the panel report notes, the bank has done nothing since the demolitions to assist the victims in any way.)

The bulldozing caused an immediate furore in the Albanian media and parliament if not in Washington with one politician after another arguing they were illegal under Albanian law.(As source I have used FOX News).

Political connection/corruption

While never mentioned by name in any of the reports or memos, the Albanian responsible for coordinating the World Bank-financed project was Jamarber Malltezi, an official with the country’s Ministry of Public Works and the son-in-law of prime minister Berisha.

In March 2007, just weeks before Jale was demolished, Malltezi sent a letter to the head of the country’s “construction police” on the official letterhead of the Bank-financed project, according to the panel’s report discussing potential demolitions, “the importance of sustainable development” and the need for the police to act “as fast as possible.” Attached to the letter were two CDs with aerial photography financed with World Bank funds indicating the houses to be destroyed.

In addition to the project’s failure to comply with World Bank policies,  the investigators noted allegations of corruption and complaints that the demolition of the Jale settlements was part of a bigger scheme to develop the area as a tourist resort.

World Bank Spent More Than a Year Covering Up Destruction of Albanian Village

The investigative panel also accused World Bank management of misrepresenting facts during the probe and hampering the investigation by withholding access to data, while it notes the unusual lack of recollection of facts and crucial events by staff. Investigators say that several WB staff members both in headquarters and on the field were “coached” to provide unusually consistent but factually incorrect or misleading information.

Managers at the World Bank provided false information to the agency’s board of directors about a project and then spent nearly two years trying to cover it up. But what is crystal clear are the attempts by bank officials to hide something. The panel’s report is filled with allegations of the bank obstructing investigators in their year-long probe in language highly unusual for a bureaucratic document. (Reference FOX News)

The Albanian Response: World Bank influenced by the Albanian mafia

On 9th February 2009 Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused a World Bank investigative panel of being influenced by the Albanian mafia for their report on a controversial coastal management project that was used to demolish parts of a village and leave many families homeless.

“I express my contempt for the unscrupulous slander of the investigative panel in what they call an independent report, but which has been dictated by the Albanian land mafia,” said Berisha in a press conference on Sunday, adding that he had asked World Bank officials to probe the panel’s ties to organized crime. (Source BalkanInsight)

Simultaneously in London’s FT

In a column in London’s Financial Times on 25 January 2009, WB president Robert Zoellick called for an “Age of Responsibility” that would include developed countries giving nearly 1 percent of their economic stimulus packages to the world’s poor.

“The World Bank could manage the distribution of the cash with the United Nations and the regional development banks,” he wrote. “We could use existing mechanisms to deliver the funds fast and flexibly, backed by monitoring and safeguards so the money is well spent.”


And the World Bank’s board? It will meet February 17 to discuss the panel’s report and management’s official response to it.

How about EU?

World Bank is only one donor in Balkans the big one is European Union and it also has its share of problems . Couple of months ago I wrote an article “Squandering Kosovo’s Aid Funds” referring information made in public in German daily Die Welt on 18 December 2008. The core message was that a big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement. As base of the claim were the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia, has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately I do not believe that the case I have described is unique in Balkans or universally with development projects by big donors. From project management point of view I like to highlight following aspects:

  • At planning stage the correct information from the field should be provided, not only high level marketing reports
  • The Aim(s) and output should be clearly defined and understood by both donor and beneficiar
  • The final project plan should include realistic Logical Framework Approach (LogFrame)
  • At implementation stage the events on the ground and the progress reports should be compared to verification measures in LogFrame
  • The feedback from the event on the ground level and about inappropriate connections on the management level should be used to make necessary correction to original plan
  • If the aims of original plan look unreachable or the methods with implementation are incorrect the financier should have courage to stop project when it is still ongoing without waiting yearlong investigations to be ready
  • Internal investigations should be supported not prevented by donor management.

The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The strategic error is to use Aid funds only in a right way, not to right purposes. The fatal crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.



Bookmark this on Delicious


Squandering Kosovo’s Aid funds

December 22, 2008

A big part of EU Aid for reconstruction projects of Kosovo has been wasted due criminal activities, corruption, frauds and mismanagement reports German daily Die Welt on 18th Dec. 2008. As base of this claim are the investigations conducted by the EU Anti Fraud Office (OLAF), UN investigators and the Italian Financial Police. More than 50 cases of financial embezzlement was found – most of them in energy sector. In twelve of these cases there is proof of criminal liability.

According to EU data roughly 2.3 billion euro have been granted for Kosovo as aid since 1999, after the NATO bombing of Serbia. Some 400 million euros has been wasted for energy projects. According to the alleged reports, EU funds that had been destined for Kosovo’s energy sector, were misappropriated by UN officials in Kosovo, in conduit with local politicians. Whatever the reasons the results are humble at best – after eight years investments power cuts are still part of daily life in Kosovo.

Aid money for Kosovo

While most of the 2.3 billion Euros invested in the reconstruction of Kosovo has disappeared without a trace and when it is expected that by 2011 the EU will throw Kosovo another one billion euro it could be clever to spare a minute for quality-planning and future management.

Case Bulgaria

On July 2008 I wrote an article “Bulgaria wrestles for EU funds and credibility”  about different aspects of misuse of EU funds. In addition to normal crimes etc. I highlighted also the structure, conflicting regulations, misunderstandings, management priorities etc as reason for claims of misuse of funds.

My main message in case Bulgaria was that criminal activities such as fraud and corruption explained only a minor part sc. misused EU funds. I think that the same is true also with case Kosovo.

Case Kosovo

Criminal activities and mismanagement at operational or implementing level are some reasons for waste of foreign Aid money in Kosovo. However the province has also some characteristic aspects as follows:

  • The main power plant is old and during last decade before Nato bombings it needed creative improvisation by then Serb workers to operate. After bombings that staff escaped, unskilled Albanian workers came in and could not do the same. Also foreigner consultants could not teach improvisation, their experience was from different field.
  • Kosovo administration was and still is a chaos. EU throw Aid money through its own agency or different programmes, through UN system or UNMIK’s EU Pillar; donor money went through bilateral agreements through administrative structure or NGOs or even through Kfor; the implementation of development plans and projects in many cases was made by individual consultants/firms so coordination was nonexistent.
  • Local expertise, commitment and participation to project implementation was insignificant so the foreigners – who were distributing Aid – had their own sandbox and the local beneficiaries their own. The point of view was that of service provider not the one of client.

The bottom line

There seems to be a huge gap between fine ideas/plans/collected money in Brussels and their reasonable distribution at local level in Kosovo. The biggest mismanagement or misuse of Aid money is not according my opinion local criminal activities. The strategic error has made in international level by not knowing the demands on the ground, not adjusting ideas and plans according local needs or the moment of Aid delivery, using indefinite mixture of emergency relief and long term planning, lack of simple and unambiguous development strategy and strategic leadership.

The real crime will be if international community does not correct earlier errors and practices at strategic level – only after that one can demand smoothly flowing project at local level.




Bookmark this on Delicious
International Affairs Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory


EU squanders aid-money by wrong approach in Western Balkans

November 7, 2008

On 5 November 2008 the Commission adopted its annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement. Furthermore, the 2008 progress reports were published on the same date, where the Commission services monitor and assess the achievements of each of the candidate and potential candidates over the last year.  Regarding Serbia and Kosovo the reports are giving quite different picture, even bigger gap is visible if EU’s input and achievements are added to the same context.

The EU input…

After Kosovo conflict European Union has invested some 4.000 million euro for capacity building of Kosovo administration at local, regional and central levels, to some infrastructure investments etc.  In addition Kosovo security system has enjoyed services (or consumption) of remarkable Kfor troops.  In fact Kosovo has got more money per capita than any other mission country in the world.

Serbia has also got some aid, but less than half per capita and without extra services or money of foreign troops.

Advisers and experts around the globe have been developing Kosovo administration and economy towards highest EU standards same time when Serbia was trying do some progress on its own.

…and the outcome

A) Serbia

Like earlier reports also the latest one states that Serbia has good capacity in its public administration. European integration structures were strengthened and the National Programme for EU Integration was adopted. Regulatory bodies performed well under difficult conditions.

The Serbian economy continued to grow strongly and the country made some progress towards establishing a functioning market economy.Regarding European standards Serbia is well placed to implement the SAA and the Interim Agreement, thanks to its good administrative capacity.  In conclusion Belgrade was nonetheless offered the prospect that it could become a EU candidate next year.

B) Kosovo

The Kosovo government needs to ensure administrative capacity, sufficient means and determination to enable effective and efficient implementation and enforcement.

The economy of Kosovo has grown at a somewhat higher rate than in previous years, but Kosovo has made very limited and uneven progress towards establishing a functioning market economy.  Macroeconomic performance was marked by weak budget implementation growing inflation, very high unemployment and external imbalances.

Kosovo has made some progress in approximating its legislation and policies with European standards, however, little progress has been made on the effective implementation and enforcement of legislation.

In conclusion Kosovo had by far the most negative evaluation on its achievements during the year.

Lessons learned

An average EU taxpayer is maybe a little bit confused how the massive input has materialized so poorly on the ground. How is it possible that progress made without that massive input has been better when massive input elsewhere is leading almost opposite way.

The answer is not Kosovo war.  During 1999 Nato bombings were causing most destruction to civilian structures and infrastructure in Serbia not in Kosovo.

I think main reason for poor performance is the practice that EU has again used top-to bottom approach with its development activities.  In practice this means, that EU  Commission bureaucrats are implementing some nice high level European ideals, throw money in,  recruit western consultancy firms and are waiting some nice reports (which of course are reflecting huge progress etc).  This has happened in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina too, which also got red light from Brussels.

The other problem with top-to-bottom approach is that commitment of local stakeholders remains low – the advisers are working for Brussels not for them or with them.  The follow-up from this practice is that modest achievements are only temporary and when aid is spend the system collapses.

My conclusion is that latest now it is time to start new bottom-to-top approach in western Balkans and especially in Kosovo using participatory planning methods as tool while designing future visions, strategies, action plans and projects among local stakeholders.

P.S: BTW one aspect of wrong EU approach in Western Balkans is priorities.  Like in Bosnia so in Kosovo too EU highlights rule, law and police sectors.  From my point of view more efforts should put for economical development.  This swift could make base for sustainable development, even multi-ethnic tolerance as well it could reduce social problems.