High Court judge risks sacking over hidden Italy conviction

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 13, 2018 10:22

High Court judge risks sacking over hidden Italy conviction

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  • During the hearing, Thanza said he’d taken responsibility of the theft to help out a relative, but had kept this fact hidden

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TIRANA, July 11 – Albania’s International Monitoring Operation, overseeing the re-evaluation process of judges and prosecutors under the justice reform, collected data that revealed on Tuesday Supreme Court judge Admir Thanza was arrested in 1999 for theft in Italy, where he was also convicted.

During the hearing, Thanza said he’d taken responsibility of the crime to help out a relative, but had kept this fact hidden.

However, the Independent Qualification Committee (IQC) also found issues in three of the other re-evaluation pillars, while Thanza appears to have been also investigated for corruption in a case later closed by the prosecution.

Still not 50-years-old, Thanza has had a fast-climbing career to the peak of the system, from being a member of the High Council of Justice to becoming a member of the Constitutional Court at 40, and now serving as Supreme Court judge.

Tuesday’s hearing results, however, seriously risk Thanza’s career.

Problems have already been communicated to Thanza concerning with declared assets: concealment of income or false statements. Problems have also been found in the professional evaluation, concerning his file administration methods . The biggest blow, however,  remains the integrity of his figure.

International experts assisting the process also uncovered a fact that Thanza didn’t even state during the reevaluation process.

In June 1999, while serving as a judge, he was sentenced by Italy’s Pisa Court with 40 days imprisonment and 100,000 lireta fine for theft in collaboration with others, and was even present at the courtroom when the decision was taken.

Thanza said he’d not committed the theft but taken responsibility for the crime to save his nephew, who was at the time laying ill at the hospital and did not stand a chance of getting better if his mother, who was the guilty one, was punished and deported.

Concerning the corruption case from a few years ago, Thanza is accused of having received cash to ease the punishment of an accused person in the Shkodra courtroom, although the case was closed in July 2016 by prosecutor Kosta Beluri.

Beluri was second in line to face the IQC after Thanza on Tuesday.

In his case, the closed case of corruption investigation on Thanza was the only point of concern, although Beluri defended himself, saying he had not been able to tell, from the footage in his availability, whether Thanza had been bribed at the time.

The verdict for Beluri will be given on Thursday, while for Thanza’s case, the IQC will decide in one week.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 13, 2018 10:22