Author: Goran Lefkov
The disappearance of 25 million euros from the scope of the Kosovo Tax Administration in 2012 was a nightmare for the middle-aged Murat Mehmeti from Mitrovica. Responsible for investigating tax fraud in the Kosovo Tax Administration, he was constantly haunted by the thought that the future of his country, the future of his children and grandchildren, had been robbed by an organized crime group for financial fraud. This group through 4 companies registered in offshore administrations such as Belize, Cyprus, British Virgin Islands and similar tax havens through 300 invoices sent to the same number of companies managed to “rob” the future generations of the Republic of Kosovo for 25 million euros.
Murat had been working honestly all his life. His life and his career were placed in the function of protecting the citizens. Prior to joining the Kosovo Tax Administration, Murat had been working as a police inspector for more than 10 years. He ended his career there in 2012. Having been used to order and discipline, he reported the case to the Special Public Prosecutor Ali Rexha.
Rexha then managed to get the companies return 2.2 million euros or less than 10% of the total embezzled amount and stopped the investigation. He justified himself with the excuse that the companies would be corrected and that he would give them an additional chance. This raised Murat’s alarm.
Shortly afterwards, the investigation and Murat’s personality were back on the agenda. This time with the Deputy Director of the Kosovo Tax Administration. Initially, Murat was offered a promotion to a higher position. In return, Murat would have to give up one of the biggest tax frauds in the newest country in Europe. Kosovo at that time had been a state for only a few years. Murat Mehmeti entered with great enthusiasm to help his country and put the tax system on its feet because without a good tax system he was aware that it would end up like several countries in Central Africa that went bankrupt and could not collect taxes.
But the moment he refused the promotion, investigations against him started. He was accused of unreasonably requesting data about some companies from the banks.
Murat’s troubles grew every day. On the one hand, it weighed on his soul that the companies’ crime was not cleared, on the other hand, the pressure and blow of the financial mafia intertwined in different institutions and companies pressed him in various ways.
Finally, in 2016, Murat Mehmeti decided to end the agony in which he lived. He decided to appear in public on the show “Jeta në Kosovë“. He explained the whole scheme and the Golgotha that an honest inspector in a Public Institution went through.
That same night he got an ally in the 2 million population of Kosovo and so many beyond. The international community also sided with Murat. The then British ambassador to Kosovo, Ruairí O’Connell, wrote on his Facebook profile: Tax evasion is a serious problem for Kosovo and he called for full protection of whistleblowers.
He immediately found support in the “Jeta në Kosovë” journalistic team but also an accomplice in his investigations. So, the journalists themselves started looking for evidence of the crime.
Murat Mehmeti has written the history of Kosovo, whistleblowing one of the biggest tax frauds caught in the Balkans. Mehmeti’s name and image are already an icon of all whistleblowers and righteous people in Kosovo and beyond. Mehmeti’s case is a typical example of a whistleblower and a man who loves his country and who wants to help it with his existence.