Tahiri’s four years as interior minister under investigation

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 30, 2017 08:47

Tahiri’s four years as interior minister under investigation

Story Highlights

  • All Ministry of Interior tenders and activities from 2013 to 2017, the time frame during which Saimir Tahiri headed the ministry, will be audited by serious crimes prosecutors.

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TIRANA, Nov. 30 – Albania’s former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri’s period at the helm of the ministry will get a renewed audit by serious crimes prosecutors investigating his alleged ties to cannabis trafficking, officials said this week.

The move comes after businessman Orest Sota was found with €863,000 in his car, a sum prosecutors suspect belongs to Tahiri. The two men are believed to have ties, according to prosecutors.

The business activities of both Orest Sota and his father have been put under the magnifying glass since the the young businessman was stopped with the cash and IDs belonging to Tahiri in the vehicle.

Prosecutors aim to verify all tenders won by the Sota companies and the possible implications with Tahiri.

Media outlets have reported that a Sota-owned company, Eco Construction and Partners, was subcontracted for the reconstruction of Commissariat Nr. 6, one of Tirana’s largest police station buildings. The tender was valued at more than ALL 200 million (about Euro 1.5 million).

Six prosecutors are handling the Habilaj-Tahiri case, divided into three working groups. One of these is investigating the wealth and properties of all parties involved, including Orest Sota and his relatives. Another group is solely investigating Tahiri and his alleged ties with marijuana trafficking and high-rank corruption, a case made public after the Italian police targeted an Albanian-Italian narcotics-trafficking gang, part of which were the Habilaj brothers, with whom Tahiri is alleged to have ties.

The third working group is looking into the ties between the State Police and the drug-trafficking gangs, also in accordance to a report issued by the Intelligence Service.

Three former police officials are already facing arrest warrants as part of the investigation. Prosecutors suspect the officials in question allowed the Habilaj brothers to grow cannabis and conduct their illegal trafficking business in the Vlora area.

Police were unable to arrest their former colleagues, according to the Ministry of Interior, which issued a statement last week, saying they were not at home. The men are believed to have fled the country.

Material evidence considered valuable for future investigations has been seized from the suspects’ houses and other premises and sent to the prosecutors’ offices.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 30, 2017 08:47