Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci arrives for talks with the International Steering Group for Kosovo in Vienna, Austria, Monday, July 2, 2012. (Photo: AP)
Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Bujar Bukoshi resigned Monday after he was hit with corruption charges over allegations that he took bribes to award major health contracts, a press release said.
Bukoshi, a former health minister, stepped down together with deputy finance minister Astrit Haraqia, who was also charged with corruption in April, the press office of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci announced.
"Deputy PM Bukoshi and deputy minister Haraqija have taken this step for the sake of respecting the legal proceedings against them and in order to create room for the justice system to carry out its mission," the press release said.
On Friday Bukoshi and 10 other officials were charged by a European prosecutor with "abuse of official position or authority ... misuse of economic authorisation and entering into harmful contracts" during the time they were running the health ministry under the previous government.
Bukoshi was one of five deputy prime ministers in Thaci's government and dealt with social issues. In January European and Kosovo police raided the health ministry as part of a probe into allegations about government contracts.
The ministry oversees the buying of medication that is distributed through the public health system as well as the refurbishment of hospitals and other health facilities. Corruption continues to be a serious concern for Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.