Home Page
News 02 Feb 18

Albania Arrests ex-Officials Over Unbuilt Road

A court in Albania has ordered the arrest of 11 people, including former bosses of the country's roads authority, as part of an investigation into corruption in rural road construction.

Gjergj Erebara

A tract of road in Gjinar village on July 2014. Photo: Gjergj Erebara/BIRN

Two former directors of the Albanian Road Authority are among 11 people arrested by an Elbasan court order over the procurement of a road that was never properly built.

Dashamir Xhika, former director of the Authority between 2013 and 2017, was arrested and accused of abuse of office.

Xhika, 47, is a senior official in the Socialist Movement for Integration, LSI, the third largest party in Albania and a former junior partner in various governments.

Andi Toma, director of the same authority up to 2013 under the former Democratic Party government, was also arrested, over the procurement to improve the road from Elbasan in central Albania with the village of Gjinar.  

Toma was charged before, in 2008, along with then Minister of Transport, Lulzim Basha, now head of the Democratic Party, over procedures related to the so-called Patriotic Highway, a one-billion-euro highway linking Albania with Kosovo.

That case was closed by the High Court in 2009.

The Elbasan-Gjinar road was tendered in 2009 for 500 million lek, about 3.75 million euros, but prosecutors say the work was never done.

The court also authorized the arrests of the contractors and supervisors of the road.

Last December, Infrastructure Minister Damian Gjiknuri filed charges against Xhika over the construction of a highway from Tirana to Elbasan, saying he had caused millions of euros of damages.

Tenders for both roads were issued by the former Democratic Party-LSI coalition government in 2009, but the project faced repeated delays and cost overruns.

The LSI went into opposition after the 2017 election, having been part of coalition governments both with the centre-right Democrats and later with Edi Rama's Socialists.

Corruption in public procurement in Albania is perceived as endemic, and proper investigations and court sentences concerning such cases are rare.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Premium Selection

23 Feb 18

Zaev: Macedonia ‘May Wrap up Name Dispute by March’

Expressing a wish to put a speedy end to the ‘name’ dispute with Greece, possibly by spring, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev tells BIRN that he is satisfied with his country’s general direction.

23 Feb 18

Bosnians Query Goals of New Turkish Lobby Group

The launch in Bosnia of a new pro-Turkish organization, the UEBD, is seen as another sign of President Erdogan’s intention to strengthen his influence in the Balkans.

19 Feb 18

Splits Wreak Havoc With Bosniak’s Main Party