By Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Private Security Plays Lucrative Role in Attacking Student Occupations

Over the last few days it has become clear that the private security firms hired by public universities to “secure” their premises and guarantee the safety of the students and teachers, are in fact actively attacking the students, collaborating with the illegal actions of the police in dismantling barricades inside the universities.

Videos have surfaced of private security intervening at the Law Faculty of the University of Tirana in the middle of the night, where students were occupying the building. The security guards wore outfits of Toni Security, which is contracted by the University of Tirana for 4.3 million lekë (~€33,000) per month to provide “security.”

The Polytechnic University of Tirana has a similarly expensive contract with Myrto Security, for more or less the same amount.

At Exit, we have written before about the illegal cartel of private security firms, which has driven up the price of private security (usually nothing more than an untrained guard sitting at a door) for public institutions to astronomic heights, without any particular reason. Myrto Security has in fact turned up frequently in these price rigging schemes, which the Albanian Competition Authority so far has failed to investigate.

Most recently Myrto Security signed a contract with the Polytechnic University of Tirana on May 16, 2018, for the security of the building during 2018. The total value of the contract was 27,624,281 lekë (~€213,000), but the total payments of the Polytechnic University to Myrto, through several other contracts, over 2018 are 41,250,978 (~€317,500). The way in which Myrto received these contracts is the same as in all other cases: rigging the public procurement scheme.

The same holds for Toni Security, whom the University of Tirana not only paid 43,166,051 lekë in 2018, but also spent on top of that 20,599,654 lekë to Toni in February and March, based on a number of court cases the university appears to have lost against the company, which it nonetheless appears to have been forced to rehire on March 19.

Looking at the public procurement of that contract you find the same tricks as always. A large number of applicants offering remarkable similar estimates, all slightly above 43,287,ooo. Two significantly lower offers by Octapus 1 and Myrto which “disqualified,” and voilà, Toni, with an offer 43,286,722.8 lekë wins the “competition.”

The disqualification of Myrto is also interesting. Apparently the company was disqualified from this tender because it didn’t prove that it had provided security before through a contract of a value of at least 12,544,200 lekë. Nevertheless, the University of Tirana paid Myrto in 2018 41,250,978 lekë… for security!

The fact that these companies have never been properly investigated, in spite of the considerable damage they do to the public budget, implies they have the approval and protection of the government. And in return, they now assist the government by attacking the students.

This is yet another example of how widespread corruption is in Albania, and how far-reaching its influence is in the daily lives of all who live here – an influence against which the students wage battle.