Police arrest two former Socialist lawmakers under corruption charges

Police arrest two former Socialist lawmakers under corruption charges

TIRANA, Oct. 22 – Executing two separate Serious Crimes Court orders, Albanian police arrested former Head of Prisons Arben Cuko and former Socialist Party MP Arben Ndoka on Sunday evening on corruption charges and adverse possession respectively. Both former lawmakers

Read Full Article
Police crackdown on main Shijak drug ring amid anti-drug raids throughout country

Police crackdown on main Shijak drug ring amid anti-drug raids throughout country

TIRANA, Oct. 22 – Albanian police cracked down on one of the most powerful and active criminal groups in the heroine transport from Albania to Germany and conducted operations to target other similar drug rings throughout the country during the weekend.

Read Full Article
Deputy minister of education resigns after plagiarism charges surface

Deputy minister of education resigns after plagiarism charges surface

TIRANA, Oct. 20- Albania’s Deputy Minister of Education Ervin Demo resigned his post on Friday after being accused of plagiarism by Taulant Muka – a postdoctoral research at the department of epidemiology in the Netherlands.   Muka accused Demo of

Read Full Article
Police bust six in drug lab in Has, part of Albanian-German drug ring

Police bust six in drug lab in Has, part of Albanian-German drug ring

TIRANA, Oct. 19- A drug lab was uncovered by Albanian police on Friday at Has’ Brenog Village in Northern Albania and six people belonging to an Albanian-German drug ring have so far been arrested. The manufactured drugs were already dispersed

Read Full Article
Turkey requests Gulen network shut down, while Albania will follow EU standards

Turkey requests Gulen network shut down, while Albania will follow EU standards

TIRANA, Oct. 19 – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu called for Albania to hand in FETO-related individuals living in the country during a press conference with Albanian counter-part Ditmir Bushati.  “We request the termination of any anti-Turkish state activity happening

Read Full Article
Appeals Court leaves Socialist MP’s son in prison

Appeals Court leaves Socialist MP’s son in prison

TIRANA, Oct. 18 – Albania’s Appeals Court confirmed on Wednesday the imprisonment of Rexhep Rraja, the son of Fushe-Kruje Socialist MP Rrahman Rraja, who was arrested a couple of weeks back for exercising violence on former girlfriend Xhisiela Maloku. Rexhep’s

Read Full Article
Serious Crimes Prosecution extends Tahiri-case investigation deadline again

Serious Crimes Prosecution extends Tahiri-case investigation deadline again

TIRANA, Oct. 17 – The Serious Crimes Prosecution in Albania requested to postpone for another three months investigations towards former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri, who is being accused of involvement in international drug trafficking during his time in office,

Read Full Article
High Prosecutorial Council:  another delay in Albania’s collapsing justice system

High Prosecutorial Council: another delay in Albania’s collapsing justice system

TIRANA, Oct. 17 – Albania’s temporary General Prosecutor Arta Marku opened the call for applications for the High Prosecutorial Council again on Friday, as the first round failed to receive any applications. The new deadline is 15 days, while the

Read Full Article
Appellate College to review head of High Court’s re-appointment to duty

Appellate College to review head of High Court’s re-appointment to duty

TIRANA, Oct. 15 – Albania’s Public Commissioner asked the Special Appellate College on Friday to review the Independent Qualification Commission’s decision to reconfirm to duty the Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori in context of the judiciary reform’s vetting

Read Full Article
Better healthcare and education can increase country’s income, World Bank study shows

Better healthcare and education can increase country’s income, World Bank study shows

TIRANA, Oct. 14 – The 2018 Human Capital Index (HCI) launched by the World Bank showed for Albania that the country is doing better than what would be expected for its income, yet children born today could be 62 percent

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 28
            [paged] => 4
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => news
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [comments_popup] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 28
                                )

                            [include_children] => 1
                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => IN
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 10008
    [max_num_pages] => 1001
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 1
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_comments_popup] => 
    [is_paged] => 1
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 2920b385820e2016b9ccb91152d78356
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 28
            [paged] => 4
        )

    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (28) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 30, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138948
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-22 17:24:48
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-22 15:24:48
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 22 - Executing two separate Serious Crimes Court orders, Albanian police arrested former Head of Prisons Arben Cuko and former Socialist Party MP Arben Ndoka on Sunday evening on corruption charges and adverse possession respectively.

Both former lawmakers are being investigated by the Serious Crimes Court, as prosecution surveillance and investigations have led it to believe Ndoka and Cuko were also tied to the criminal arrests of the Avdyli criminal ring, which run a big network of drug trafficking throughout the country and abroad. 

Sources at the prosecution said Cuko is alleged to have accepted a sum of money and a car in turn of moving Olsi Karagjozi, a sentenced contracted killer, from one prison to another, while the accusing body is investigating allegation for other violations including prisoner transfers.

Cuko was fired from his post since September 3 by Minister of Defense Etilda Gjonaj “for intolerable mismanagement and strong corruption doubts” and Stefan Cipa, former minister of interior took up his post. 

Shortly after Cuko’s arrest came a reaction by the ministry of defense saying the legal action against him ultimately led to a deep administrative investigation. 

“The government’s action line against corruption is clear: anyone who breaks the law will face justice. Without political, ideological or color distinction, anyone breaking the law is equal and will face it equally,” Gjonaj said.

The country’s Prime Minister Edi Rama also reacted to Cuko’s arrest through a Facebook post where he expressed pity for the measure, but added there cannot be two lines of action in report to the law. 

Shortly after news of Cuko’s arrest broke out, it was reported former colleague and SP lawmaker Arben Ndoka and his brother were also placed under arrest among a group of other people after being accused of document fraud, stamp fraud and land adverse possession.

According to the police announcement, months of investigations and collected evidence led it to believe the criminal ring was involved in public land abuse in the Lezha and Kurbin areas, through document and stamp fraud. 

Days after Ndoka’s arrest, local media reported the prosecution’s file for Ndoka was compiled from audio-surveillance that was conducted on the Avdyli family members, who wanted to invest their drug money on businesses at the Rana Hedhun area and found out the Ndoka family owns the entire coastal area. 

From that point on, surveillance of the Ndoka brothers over their discussions with Real Estate Registration Office employees proved they had illegally taken huge amounts of property under their ownership. 

Last March, the Lezha police investigated a criminal group suspected of abusing properties in the Shengjin area and in this context detained 12 persons, among whom the Lezha Mayor, and declared another 11 as wanted.

All of them are being accused of adverse possession of 234,548 square meters of coastal land in Lezha’s Shengjin. 

Sources from the investigative unit and records of the prosecution’s surveillance tapes are have shown Ndoka and other Lezha officials have intervened in adverse possession of properties at Rana e Hedhun by passing them to the ownership of their relatives. 

Ndoka’s name is not new to the courts’ circles, as his name received a bad reputation since 2014, when the Democratic Party published documents proving Ndoka had been sentenced with more than seven years of prison in Italy for prostitution charges and had executed part of his sentence in Albania.

Ndoka, who called the sentence ‘accidental,’ was released in 2005 and had been engaged with public administration services ever since, having worked even at the Guard of the Republic and the state police, both during the Socialist and Democrat governments.

However, in September 2015, Ndoka resigned his MP mandate under the decriminalization law, which sought to oust all officials who had committed crimes and were sentenced in the past.

Ndoka was even mentioned in the 2015 US State Department report on Human Trafficking, although without being mentioned by name, while former US Ambassador to Albanian Donald Lu has said it is shameful an individuals who once trafficked human beings has a seat at the Albanian parliament. 

 

 
                    [post_title] => Police arrest two former Socialist lawmakers under corruption charges 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => police-arrest-two-former-socialist-lawmakers-under-corruption-charges
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-26 08:54:09
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-26 06:54:09
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138948
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138941
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-22 16:05:30
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-22 14:05:30
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 22 - Albanian police cracked down on one of the most powerful and active criminal groups in the heroine transport from Albania to Germany and conducted operations to target other similar drug rings throughout the country during the weekend. 

In Shijak, the police arrested the Avdyli family members on Sunday: brothers Astrit, Flamur and Shkelqim, as well as their cousin Jasim Avdyli, previously convicted in Italy for killing an Italian police Marshall, and H. Hoxha, previously convicted in Turkey for heroin traffic.

Twenty more arrests were reported during the Shijak operation on Sunday. 

The Avdyli brothers are being accused for a number of criminal offenses, starting from murder and prostitution to drug trafficking and illegal businesses. They are in ownership of a big number of private enterprises in Albania, among them the luxurious Durres ‘Germany Hotel.’

However, a few local media also reported Flamur was allowed to walk free out of Tirana’s prosecution office on Monday morning. 

According to the official police announcement, the operation was a result of audio-surveillance initiated and sent over from Germany and was warned by the country’s Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj during his meeting with the president of the German Federal Police.

In Durres, a similar operation went down against the former head of the ‘Durres Band’ Lulzim Berisha, however he was not found by the police.

The police operation was in the framework of executing the prosecution’s signed arrest warrant for Berisha and it involved RENEA Forces and other special operational units’ effectives in its execution.

According to local media, the police performed a search in Berisha’s home, while he was not there, and seized some objects that may serve the investigation, but that cannot be considered illegal.

Berisha, whose case investigation belongs to the same dossier as the Avdyli arrests in Shijak, is reported to be mainly residing abroad, which led the police to believe someone might have leaked information of the upcoming crackdown.

Meanwhile, in Albania’s South, between Saranda and Delvina, another police operation took place against Klement Balili, whose name became famous after his criminal ring was busted in Greece through an investigation involving the American DEA. 

Balili has been dubbed the ‘Escobar of the Balkans’ and the Greek authorities have sentenced him with life imprisonment. There have so far been no reports from the police or the media on the operation’s rate of success in capturing him.

Balili worked as a state representative in Albania, having been appointed head of transport in Saranda and several police operations against him have failed in the past.

The former US Ambassador to Tirana Donald Lu spoke about Balili several times in the past, calling the inability to arrest him “a failure.”

“Balili is a powerful organized crime boss with political ties. For two years, the government, police and prosecutors have not had the ability or capability to arrest him,” Lu has said.

The newly-appointed EU Ambassador to Tirana Luigi Soreca congratulated the series of anti-drug police operations on Sunday evening.

We welcome the vast anti-drug operation undertaken today in various cities by the State Police. The fight against organized crime and drug trafficking is a top priority for the EU. We expect prosecutions and punishments to continue with lasting results,” Soreca wrote.

 
                    [post_title] => Police crackdown on main Shijak drug ring amid anti-drug raids throughout country 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => police-crackdown-on-main-shijak-drug-ring-amid-anti-drug-raids-throughout-country
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-22 16:08:16
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-22 14:08:16
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138941
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138932
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-20 10:51:32
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-20 08:51:32
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 20- Albania’s Deputy Minister of Education Ervin Demo resigned his post on Friday after being accused of plagiarism by Taulant Muka - a postdoctoral research at the department of epidemiology in the Netherlands.  

Muka accused Demo of copying and pasting an entire research paper from 2005 and then giving it his authorship. 

“Could such people create educational reforms? Our Albania has many such examples; people who have nothing to do with teaching and education, ‘motivate’ our youth, direct departments, faculties and universities, and even make ‘politics’ in education! Our youth needs people with values and academics whose passion is education!’’, wrote Muka in a Facebook post on Oct. 7, where he also attached a screenshot of the original paper alongside the one copied by Demo.

Following, Demo announced he is resigning after being under attacks for two weeks. He said that he is choosing the interests of the Socialist cabinet and the ministry of education in general over his personal interests. 

However, his resignation also comes in the framework of a new ‘lawful criteria verification’ (VKL) for the accreditation of all the accorded titles and degrees in the past ten years that the ministry for education has been preparing for the past few months. 

“I would never wish it that in my position as deputy minister, I’d become the reason to judge this important element of our radical reform. Such transparent, strict and fair processes, are the only path to create a new approach for the educational system we aspire and to contribute in the proper organizational culture for promoting academic staff and young researchers,’’ said Demo in a Facebook post, where he also announced his resignation. 

Demo did not fail to mention his gratitude to the education ministry and Prime Minister Rama, calling his leadership the right one in leading the country in the proper direction through the new reforms the government is undertaking and said he will remain a Socialist Party MP in order to further push these reforms forward. 

 
                    [post_title] => Deputy minister of education resigns after plagiarism charges surface
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => deputy-minister-of-education-resigns-after-plagiarism-charges-surface
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-22 11:10:13
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-22 09:10:13
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138932
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138937
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-20 09:43:26
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-20 07:43:26
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 19- A drug lab was uncovered by Albanian police on Friday at Has’ Brenog Village in Northern Albania and six people belonging to an Albanian-German drug ring have so far been arrested. 

The manufactured drugs were already dispersed into packages and placed into luggage and boxes ready for transport.

The police announced this operation was conducted in collaboration with RENEA, the Kukes police department and also DEA and other international agencies, as the lab was operating internationally for years. 

In the framework of the nationwide operation ‘The Power of Law’, this operation started months ago, and the seizure is the first out of a larger operation control in Northern Albania.

The initials of the five Albanian initially arrested are V. B., F. C., Xh. Sh., M. Sh., and A. Sh., while local media reported a Turkish businessman was among the arrested. There is a higher number of people involved, including foreigners, that the police is seeking.

After an official police report is issued, the dossier will be delivered to the Serious Crimes Prosecution.

This is the second sophisticated drug lab being discovered in Albania, after the first cocaine lab which was found in Elbasan’s Xibrake Village. In that case, too, the criminal ring imported cocaine from Colombia, extracted and sold it, mainly, in Germany.

Two Colombians who were hired as experts in the lab were among the arrested during the Xibrake police shut down.

 
                    [post_title] => Police bust six in drug lab in Has, part of Albanian-German drug ring
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => police-bust-five-in-drug-lab-in-has-part-of-albanian-german-drug-ring
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-26 08:58:02
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-26 06:58:02
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138937
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138925
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-19 15:12:28
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-19 13:12:28
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 19 - Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu called for Albania to hand in FETO-related individuals living in the country during a press conference with Albanian counter-part Ditmir Bushati. 

“We request the termination of any anti-Turkish state activity happening here. We have given our Albanian friends a list of names, we have also officially asked for their extradition . We would never host Albanian terrorists, and I expect the same of Albania,” he said. 

Bushati replied by saying Albania’s stand remains the same as in 2016, when, allegedly, Fetullah Gylen and other FETO-related individuals attempted a coup d’etat against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

“Albania’s answer is the same we’ve given to Turkey but also the international community. Albania has been one of the first countries that expressed solidarity to Turkey concerning the coup d’etat. But, on the other side, Albania is a NATO member, a EU candidate and has adhered to a number of important international dispositions in the extradition field and any kind similar policy must be pursued in diplomatic ways, and not in press conferences,” Bushati said. 

According to Çavusoglu, Albania should also shut off all FETO-related institutions operating here, in addition to the “FETO terrorists,” who he claims have even infiltrated the Albanian state system. 

The FETO-related institutions mainly refer to educational institutions in Albania belonging to  Gylen. 

“There is an extremely serious FETO structure in Albania, in every area. As in other countries, they have used the education system in particular, have penetrated very well inside the state system. We can not take more steps. This terrorist organization is an open and large threat against Turkey as well. They are not alone, well know how they operate. We know there are elements of FETO here and we expect something from our friend, Albania. We expect to close the institutions that conduct anti-Turkish activities in Albania,” Çavusoglu said. 

A large number of Turkish colleges, kindergartens and elementary schools opened in Albania since 1992.  Through the years, they expanded by becoming high schools and universities which led to the birth of a new class in the society able to afford this service. Turkey believes that FETO’s leader for Balkans and Fetullah Gulen’s nephew control 12 schools: two universities and ten elementary and high schools, and that the children of many politicians, state officials and influential people were enrolled in these schools.

Meanwhile, Gulen himself has been living in the US since the 1990’s. 

Albanian-Turkish relations have never been peripheric to Albania’s foreign policy and both countries have had good relations. 

A clear indicator of the good bilateral relations between the two countries are the numbers, which speak for themselves - in 2017, Turkey was one of Albania’s top five trading partners, with a trade volume of 460 million dollars.

Some of the most major Turkish investments in Albania are in the banking system, energy sector and air transportation.Meanwhile, the stock of Turkish FDI to Albania, at €565 million in mid-2018, represents about 8 percent of total FDI stock in Albania, according to Albania’s central bank.

Turkey has supported Albania on EU-related matters as both countries have shared EU membership aspirations. 

 
                    [post_title] => Turkey requests Gulen network shut down, while Albania will follow EU standards 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => turkey-requests-gulen-network-shut-off-albania-to-follow-eu-standards
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-19 16:31:45
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-19 14:31:45
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138925
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138891
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-18 09:32:30
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-18 07:32:30
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 18 - Albania’s Appeals Court confirmed on Wednesday the imprisonment of Rexhep Rraja, the son of Fushe-Kruje Socialist MP Rrahman Rraja, who was arrested a couple of weeks back for exercising violence on former girlfriend Xhisiela Maloku. 

Rexhep’s lawyer appealed Kruja’s Court decision, asking for his release on the pretense his human rights were being violated. 

Local media reported Maloku, who was the one to initially denounce Rexhep but then recently withdrew her accusations claiming Rexhep never hurt her or persecuted her, was also in the courtroom, asking for his release. 

The violence exercised towards Maloku, as well as the initial charges pressed by her, happened in June, but did not gain public attention until the opposition’s Democratic Party published a video showing former Kruje police officer Emiljano Nuhu denouncing the case and alleging proceedings were hampered to protect Rexhep.

In his interview, Nuhu also alleged SP MPs – Rahmen Rraja and Taulant Balla – held him at gunpoint in the Fushe-Kruje police department to not complete his duty towards Maloku’s denouncement and investigate the charges and Rexhep.

Maloku said in the past the police did not register her denunciations and that when it finally did, she was again forced to withdraw them under the pressure of threats.

Although both Rrahman and Balla categorically denied being in the Fushe-Kruje department, knowing Nuhu, or even, in the case of Rrahman, the violence towards Maloku ever happening,  the forensic expertise conducted on Maloku’s body left little place for doubt on the latter one.

The results showed violence was exercised on Maloku’s back and cigarettebutts were put off on her thighs.

However, in an interview only two weeks ago, Maloku denied being violated by Rexhep, saying she had pressed charges out of jealousy for his new relationship and that he had never been violent towards her.

As for the forensic expertise showing that Maloku had signs of violence and cigarette burns on her body, she said they were a normal part of their relationship.

Despite Rexhep’s arrest, the country’s opposition has been using the case over the last two weeks to accuse the prosecution and government of failing to do their job and protect their citizens. 

“The arrest just for show in exchange of the public opinion’s silence. The arrest of a ruthless rapist with the lightest charge, that of persecution, is the trick that Rama is using to protect the criminals who provide him with power in Kruja and Fushë Krujë,” Democratic Party MP Jorida Tabaku has stated. 

 
                    [post_title] => Appeals Court leaves Socialist MP’s son in prison 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => appeals-court-leaves-socialist-mps-son-in-prison
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-19 09:33:53
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-19 07:33:53
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138891
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138875
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-17 15:21:49
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-17 13:21:49
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 17 - The Serious Crimes Prosecution in Albania requested to postpone for another three months investigations towards former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri, who is being accused of involvement in international drug trafficking during his time in office, in order to collect more information on the case.

The prosecution’s announcement explained the extension is necessary to administer the answer to a request for judicial help sent to Italy, further verification of a letter of intent administered by Montenegro and some additional wealth verification.

Currently, Tahiri is not restricted by any judicial measures, as the Appeals Court for Serious Crimes repealed the First Instance Court’s decision to place him under house arrest on May 28.

“Other subjects suspected of cooperating with the person under investigation, Saimir Tahiri, are also under investigation,” the prosecution’s announcement read. 

Among the people involved in the Tahiri investigation are the Habilaj brothers, who were arrested last October from Italian authorities for being involved in an Italian-Albanian drug-trafficking ring and who are distant cousins of Tahiri. 

While the prosecution began sequestering a number of Habilaj properties in Vlora and other cities over the last two weeks, the wealth investigation on Tahiri is still to yield any results.

After verifying his legal wealth, the prosecution has announced it will go on to investigate Tahiri’s “hidden assets,” part of which the prosecution suspects was the amount of 863 thousand euros that was found in Orest Sota’s car a month after the Tahiri case scandal broke out. 

In this context, Orest Sota, a young Albanian businessman who was found carrying the amount of cash and two sailing licences under a random car check, is also under investigation by the prosecution within the Tahiri case.

The prosecution has justified further investigation into Sota due to the close relations Tahiri has had with him and their frequent travels abroad, specifically in Montenegro and Italy.

The deadline extension of Tahiri’s investigation marks one-year since Italian authorities arrested the Habilaj brothers on drug-trafficking accusations collected after wiretapping their activity for years. Tahiri’s name was heard in these wiretaps in several occasions. 

Although Tahiri resigned from parliament last May, the efforts to uncover the truth of the case and the level of his involvement in the Habilaj brothers’ activity seems to have also waned, while investigations keep being blocked or postponed.

The opposition and its leader, Lulzim Basha, have continuously accused Prime Minister Edi Rama of having strong ties with Tahiri and organized crime and of defending him with all his might.

 
                    [post_title] => Serious Crimes Prosecution extends Tahiri-case investigation deadline again 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => serious-crimes-prosecution-extends-tahiri-case-investigation-deadline-again
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-17 15:21:49
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-17 13:21:49
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138875
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138893
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-17 09:34:44
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-17 07:34:44
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 17 - Albania’s temporary General Prosecutor Arta Marku opened the call for applications for the High Prosecutorial Council again on Friday, as the first round failed to receive any applications. 

The new deadline is 15 days, while the candidates should come from the appeals prosecutions.

The High Prosecutorial Council is made up of 11 members, five of which come from outside the system. The remaining six spots are divided among three prosecutors from first instance prosecution, two prosecutors from appeals prosecution and one from the general prosecution. 

While the first instance and general prosecution have more candidates that can answer the call, as a number of prosecutors have passed the vetting process under the judiciary reform, only Arben Dollapaj from the Shkodra Appeals Prosecution can be appointed by the appeals prosecutions.

The country’s ongoing vetting process disqualified the other two candidacies - Besa Nikelhasani by the Shkodra Appeals Prosecution and Luan Kaloci by the Tirana Appeals Prosecution. 

Although Albania’s judicial reform - a precondition for the opening of the country’s EU accession negotiations and later EU integration - foresaw exactly this: the cleanup of the current system by corrupt or incapable judges and prosecutors who could not justify their wealth, the big number of lost judges and prosecutors had not fully been predicted by anyone.   

In these circumstances, in the best case scenario, the HPC will be established in the end of January, as, according to the law, the process of re-evaluation alone takes minimally three months. 

Only after the HPC is established can the preparatory stages for the creation of the National Investigation Bureau and and the Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) begin. 

The High Judicial Council was in much of the same situation, as a second call to the appeals courts was necessary to draw two candidacies. 

Delays in establishing the HJC further postpones the full seat completion of the High Court, which is currently left with four members who have successfully passed the vetting process, among the 19 the law foresees. 

These two are not isolated cases - the Albanian media has been reporting Albania’s collapsing justice system as soon as the vetting process of judges and prosecutors actively began. The most serious problem arising of the ongoing resignations, sackings and investigations has been particularly this - the freezing of certain courts and the lack of existence of other judicial bodies foreseen under the justice reform. 

The Constitutional Court, left with only four judges, has been out of order over the last months as six judges are needed to start a meeting and five to take a decision. 

The Constitutional Court situation has also inevitably affected Albania’s domestic and foreign political affairs, with the most prominent issue being the governing Socialist government’s aim to negotiate a new maritime border agreement with Greece. 

Recently, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that when the ongoing negotiations between the group groups lead to an agreement, it will pass to parliament without waiting for the CC to become functional. 

Rama’s comments followed President Ilir Meta’s statement a day earlier, who stressed that such an international agreement in the name of the Republic of Albania should be ratified in parliament only once the country has a functioning Constitutional Court again.

“Otherwise, this would not serve both countries’ best interests,” Meta said, adding he’d made his point clear to Rama as well. 

A number of independent experts have voiced the same opinion on the matter.

Meanwhile, opposition members and critics alike have also noted nothing is being done to appoint a General Prosecutor, as Arta Marku was to be temporary and has yet to undergo the judiciary vetting herself.

December will mark one year since Arta Marku was appointed temporarily General Prosecutor by the ruling SP lawmakers amid opposition protests both inside and outside the parliament. 

Upon declaring Marku temporary chief prosecutor last december, the parliamentary program was postponed, while the opposition lawmakers released smoke grenades inside the building and protesters clashed with police outside. 

 
                    [post_title] => High Prosecutorial Council:  another delay in Albania’s collapsing justice system 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => high-prosecutorial-council-another-delay-in-albanias-collapsing-justice-system
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-19 09:36:38
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-19 07:36:38
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138893
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138859
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-15 14:47:47
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-15 12:47:47
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 15 - Albania’s Public Commissioner asked the Special Appellate College on Friday to review the Independent Qualification Commission’s decision to reconfirm to duty the Head of the High Court Xhezair Zaganjori in context of the judiciary reform’s vetting process.

Back in August, it was the International Monitoring Operation - a body composed of European and US experts - which recommended to the Public Commissioner to appeal the IQC’s decision to re-confirm Zaganjori to duty.

“After reviewing the Independent Qualification Commission’s decision, as well as taking into consideration the recommendation put forward by the International Monitoring Operation to present a complaint, the Public Commissioner estimates that based on the evidence and facts administered by the IQC, the subject of the re-evaluation Xhezair Zaganjori does not reach a credible level for his wealth evaluation,” the Public Commissioner’s announced.

Although the IQC decided to reconfirm Zaganjori, it also mentioned a number of problems that it had found during an in-depth investigation in Zaganjori’s wealth. 

According to the report read during the initial hearing, Zaganjori had made inaccurate, insufficient and fictitious statements, while also lacking the financial sources statements for an apartment owned by him in the centre of Tirana, an office, a basement and a shop. 

All these properties were included in one single building which, according to Zaganjori, was not purchased but built on land inherited by his wife’s family.

However, the IQC also raised allegations that he had not paid his state obligations from collected rents and that there were discrepancies in the cost he’d declared for his children’s education, which the IQC says was higher.

Zaganjori, who, in addition to monthly salaries and rent, had also declared high financial earnings from working at an institute in Germany, said he’d offered the IQC 40 pages worth of explanations for all questions raised during the process, and asked to be reconfirmed to duty.

However, according to the commissioner, “the subject has not achieved to prove through hard evidence and convincing facts the opposite of the investigation’s results, thus the conclusions reached by the commission on the subject’s wealth evaluation are not deemed correct.”

 
                    [post_title] => Appellate College to review head of High Court’s re-appointment to duty 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => appellate-college-to-review-head-of-high-courts-re-appointment-to-duty
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-15 14:47:47
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-15 12:47:47
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138859
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 138851
                    [post_author] => 281
                    [post_date] => 2018-10-15 11:16:11
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-15 09:16:11
                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 14 - The 2018 Human Capital Index (HCI) launched by the World Bank showed for Albania that the country is doing better than what would be expected for its income, yet children born today could be 62 percent more productive than they are if they enjoyed complete education and full health.

According to this research, Albania has improved the coverage and quality of early childhood education and care.

“The access to pre-primary education has substantially increased  from 58 percent in 2007 to 83 percent in 2017. Over the long term, early learning opportunities are linked with higher education attainment, post-school productivity, and income, and have a higher rate of return for vulnerable groups,” the study says.

However, the HCI also showed there is place for improvement in the quality of pre-primary education and inclusion especially for disadvantaged children - something already recognized as a priority by the Albanian government.

The HCI measures the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by the age of 18. The index ranks where each country is now in terms of productivity of the next generation of workers. 

“For the poorest people, human capital is often the only capital they have,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim is quoted to have said in in the World Bank webpage. “Human capital is a key driver of sustainable, inclusive economic growth, but investing in health and education has not gotten the attention it deserves.” 

Although, according to the World Bank, 99 out of 100 children born in Albania survive to the age of five, however infant and maternal mortality and stunted rates are still higher than in other countries of the region and improvements are still possible. 

Further on, the HCI for Albania shows the country has reached full gender equality in pre-primary and elementary education, as gross enrollment data haven been almost identical for boys and girls.

“However, more males than females attend upper secondary while more females are in higher education pointing to needs to address disparities at these levels of education going forward.”

The Index is part of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project, which recognizes human capital as driver of inclusive growth and will be included in the forthcoming World Development Report 2019 on the Changing Nature of Work, which addresses the importance of investing in human capital.

The World Bank Group has highlighted in the study that a significant improvement in children’s health and education today can surely raise the country’s and population’s income, with considerable long-term benefits. 

 
                    [post_title] => Better healthcare and education can increase country’s income, World Bank study shows 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => better-healthcare-and-education-can-increase-countrys-income-world-bank-study-shows
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-10-15 11:16:11
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-15 09:16:11
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138851
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 138948
            [post_author] => 281
            [post_date] => 2018-10-22 17:24:48
            [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-22 15:24:48
            [post_content] => TIRANA, Oct. 22 - Executing two separate Serious Crimes Court orders, Albanian police arrested former Head of Prisons Arben Cuko and former Socialist Party MP Arben Ndoka on Sunday evening on corruption charges and adverse possession respectively.

Both former lawmakers are being investigated by the Serious Crimes Court, as prosecution surveillance and investigations have led it to believe Ndoka and Cuko were also tied to the criminal arrests of the Avdyli criminal ring, which run a big network of drug trafficking throughout the country and abroad. 

Sources at the prosecution said Cuko is alleged to have accepted a sum of money and a car in turn of moving Olsi Karagjozi, a sentenced contracted killer, from one prison to another, while the accusing body is investigating allegation for other violations including prisoner transfers.

Cuko was fired from his post since September 3 by Minister of Defense Etilda Gjonaj “for intolerable mismanagement and strong corruption doubts” and Stefan Cipa, former minister of interior took up his post. 

Shortly after Cuko’s arrest came a reaction by the ministry of defense saying the legal action against him ultimately led to a deep administrative investigation. 

“The government’s action line against corruption is clear: anyone who breaks the law will face justice. Without political, ideological or color distinction, anyone breaking the law is equal and will face it equally,” Gjonaj said.

The country’s Prime Minister Edi Rama also reacted to Cuko’s arrest through a Facebook post where he expressed pity for the measure, but added there cannot be two lines of action in report to the law. 

Shortly after news of Cuko’s arrest broke out, it was reported former colleague and SP lawmaker Arben Ndoka and his brother were also placed under arrest among a group of other people after being accused of document fraud, stamp fraud and land adverse possession.

According to the police announcement, months of investigations and collected evidence led it to believe the criminal ring was involved in public land abuse in the Lezha and Kurbin areas, through document and stamp fraud. 

Days after Ndoka’s arrest, local media reported the prosecution’s file for Ndoka was compiled from audio-surveillance that was conducted on the Avdyli family members, who wanted to invest their drug money on businesses at the Rana Hedhun area and found out the Ndoka family owns the entire coastal area. 

From that point on, surveillance of the Ndoka brothers over their discussions with Real Estate Registration Office employees proved they had illegally taken huge amounts of property under their ownership. 

Last March, the Lezha police investigated a criminal group suspected of abusing properties in the Shengjin area and in this context detained 12 persons, among whom the Lezha Mayor, and declared another 11 as wanted.

All of them are being accused of adverse possession of 234,548 square meters of coastal land in Lezha’s Shengjin. 

Sources from the investigative unit and records of the prosecution’s surveillance tapes are have shown Ndoka and other Lezha officials have intervened in adverse possession of properties at Rana e Hedhun by passing them to the ownership of their relatives. 

Ndoka’s name is not new to the courts’ circles, as his name received a bad reputation since 2014, when the Democratic Party published documents proving Ndoka had been sentenced with more than seven years of prison in Italy for prostitution charges and had executed part of his sentence in Albania.

Ndoka, who called the sentence ‘accidental,’ was released in 2005 and had been engaged with public administration services ever since, having worked even at the Guard of the Republic and the state police, both during the Socialist and Democrat governments.

However, in September 2015, Ndoka resigned his MP mandate under the decriminalization law, which sought to oust all officials who had committed crimes and were sentenced in the past.

Ndoka was even mentioned in the 2015 US State Department report on Human Trafficking, although without being mentioned by name, while former US Ambassador to Albanian Donald Lu has said it is shameful an individuals who once trafficked human beings has a seat at the Albanian parliament. 

 

 
            [post_title] => Police arrest two former Socialist lawmakers under corruption charges 
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => police-arrest-two-former-socialist-lawmakers-under-corruption-charges
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2018-10-26 08:54:09
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-26 06:54:09
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=138948
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 28
            [name] => News
            [slug] => news
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 28
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 10008
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 28
            [category_count] => 10008
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => News
            [category_nicename] => news
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 28
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More