15 November 2006

Our recent report that Albanian's Prime Minister's daughter made $800,000 in five years solely on her U.N. salary in Kosovo prompted a flurry of comments. None questioned the facts. But there were varied interpretations. For example, Artan Huta, an Albanian American, was amazed "how U.N. wastes its funds." While aware of work hardships in that region, he knows many qualified people willing to do the job for much less. His focus is bad management by U.N. program leaders who could have used such funds to help educate children and eradicate poverty.

A graduate student in Mass Communications at the University of Bologna, Italy, Musa Sellmanlleri, informs that what we reported was nothing compared to other stories of influential sons and daughters. A lot of them, he claims, have been trafficking in drugs, arms, "and more and more; or shoot people for nothing in the middle of the day in the middle of the city." His general point is: "There are more other dangerous things than making money." Like several others, he mentions names of siblings and recounts shooting and trafficking incidents. Outsiders like us may not know who Gramoz Fuci is, but his family's name seems to come up more than once. Surely, he will confirm to us that he did nothing illegal. "So, what do you expect of all this thing!?," we are rhetorically asked. Perhaps, after all these stories we should be very grateful to Ms. Malltezi for keeping her activities within the U.N. Development Programme, unlike others roaming the streets of that rough neighborhood. That is what Roland Barolli seems to tell us. The Prime Minister's daughter has undeniable proof about her income which can be verified by anyone interested. "I know the person who wrote the article has intentions of misinforming the Albanian public," Barolli says, adding that "the reasons why I am posting this comment is because the article was running in the Albanian papers."

We have no intention of delving into Albanian local politics. We reported a U.N.-related fact. It may help everyone if the U.N.D.P. office or UNMIK concerned produced a clarifying statement, now that the matter is out in public. Not only in Kosovo or Tirana, but surely many staff in New York, Geneva or elsewhere will be very interested in knowing how one could make $800,000 in a five year U.N. salary.