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Opposition MPs accuse army spy agency of illegal eavesdropping and arms trafficking and say the Minister of Defence is blocking a parliamentary probe into the allegations.
Socialist opposition MPs in the National Security Commission in parliament have launched a probe, requesting documents from the Ministry of Defence in relation to allegations of arms trafficking and illegal eavesdropping by the army’s spy agency, SHIU.
“Certain elements [in the ministry] have strayed away from the legal framework and engaged in corrupt practices of armed trafficking… maybe even anti-constitutional activity like illegal [phone] interception,” Socialist MP Ilir Gjoni said this week.
Gjoni accused the Minister of Defence, Arben Imami, of blocking the request for information from parliament, calling it a breach of the civilian control of the armed forces.
“It is unfortunate and is alarming that our Ministry of Defence, which represents our country in NATO… acts like an abusive and corrupt institution,” he added.
The head of SHIU, Colonel Ylli Zyla, resigned on July 5, following media reports linking his wife to arms traders. The media has also raised questions about the sale of phone-tapping equipment by the agency.
Data published by the Authority for the Control of Exports, which licenses arms sales, show that Albania has sold hundreds of tons of ammunition, explosives, artillery missiles, mortars and RPGs to countres as diverse as Montenegro, Yemen, the US, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ministry of Defence has meanwhile called the accusations of Socialist MPs "childish".
Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Minister Arben Imami said that he would welcome any probe that followed legal procedures, adding the opposition seemed more interested in creating a conflict than establishing facts.
“There can be no arms-trafficking in a NATO member state and the accusation are a show of political amateurism,” the minister added.
Imami said the ministry was “under attack” and the opposition was collecting evidence illegally.
“From their [Socialist MPs] statements you can understand who is doing the eavesdropping,” he concluded.
The Serbian paramilitary who became a key prosecution witness at his former comrades’ trial for war crimes in Kosovo says he had to speak out about the brutal massacres his unit committed.