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VOA: The incinerator of Tirana, investigations reveal violations and connections with the businessmen involved
Written by SOT.COM.AL 9 Dhjetor 2023
In Albania, the Special Prosecutor's Office's investigations into the Tirana incinerator, which led to the issuance of 15 arrest warrants, have revealed a series of irregularities in the procedures followed to award the concession to the winning company.
In addition to the legal violations, almost the entire practice was carried out in cooperation with the two entrepreneurs Klodian Zoto and Mirel Mërtiri, the beneficiaries of the concession
Similar to the cases of Elbasan and Fier, also for the Tirana incinerator, according to the results of the investigations, the state machinery was almost entirely at the service of businessmen Zoto and Mërtiri.
The Prosecution Acts prove that they were the ones who controlled the entire process from beginning to end, while the state officials involved took care to close the procedures without delay, according to the interests of the two entrepreneurs.
In the official announcement, it is noted that "the proposing company "Integrated Energy BV", in which the company "Integrated Technology Services" sh.pk owned by Zoto is a shareholder, was aware of the competitive circumstances before it was announced procedure of granting the concession".
Likewise, this company "has been equipped with the necessary documentation that it had to submit to the Ministry of Environment before and during the concession procedure, in order to declare this company the winner".
Even the concession documents, turn out "to have been drawn up by Zoto's employees, who then sent them to the employees of the Ministry of Environment.
While the cost estimates in the feasibility study were taken - according to the Special Prosecutor's Office - from the feasibility study of the proposing company "Integrated Energy BV", without performing any verification regarding their authenticity".
Something which has led to an inflation of the costs that the municipalities of the Tirana District are forced to pay today.
The connection of the entrepreneurs with the former leaders of the Ministry of Environment, Minister Lefter Koka and the Secretary General at that time, Alqi Blako, seems to have been so strong that the latter were not even concerned about the fact that the company "Integrated Energy BV ", based in the Netherlands, was not registered as a subject in the National Business Center, as required by law.
Although this fact was pointed out to the Ministry of the Environment by the then Minister of State for relations with the Parliament, on November 15, 2016, the procedures continued, despite the fact that remarks were also made by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice.
And almost three weeks later on December 7, 2016, the government has approved giving the bonus of 8 percent to an unregistered company. Moreover, according to the acts of the Prosecutor's Office, the final contract is not related to "Integrated Energy BV", but to "Integrated Energy BV SPV", registered on the day of signing the contract, on August 31, 2017.
The investigation also shows that for several years in a row, the former minister Koka had as an external advisor, a former employee of his, who was not paid by the ministry, but who, with the intervention of Mr. Blako, was fictitiously employed in Zoto's company , where he received monthly payments.
According to the prosecutor's office, this advisor "served as a "bridge" to provide the authorities with the required documentation related to the concession granting procedure, in order to then make this documentation available to Zoto, so that the latter could complete the necessary acts and for the company "Integrated Energy BV" to be declared the winner".
Moreover, Mr. Blako turns out to have benefited nearly 120,000 euros, in the form of a machine, bought on behalf of his father's company, by the entrepreneur Zoto.
The former socialist deputy has already been convicted in the first degree for the incinerator in Elbasan, while he was declared innocent in the case of Fier. But now he will have to face the new charge of corruption in two cases.
The same situation for the two entrepreneurs Zoto and Mërtiri against whom there is a mountain of other charges, as well as the former minister Koka, convicted in two different decisions, and now again with the charge of "Abuse of duty".
An accusation that burdens over 11 other people, most of whom are members of the concession commission. Among them is the former legal director of the Ministry of Environment, Alba Thoma, as well as the General Director of Public Works in the Municipality of Tirana, Taulant Tusha./VOA