Opposition Alleges That a Third Socialist Party Mayor Hid Criminal Record

The opposition Democratic Party (PD) called on prosecutors to investigate Mayor of Vau i Dejes, Mark Babani, for possible violation of the Decriminalization Law. The opposition stated it has reasonable doubts to suspect Mayor Babani hid past arrests and conviction, as well as his three illegal identities.

In a letter sent to the General Prosecutor’s Office on September 9, the PD required background checks on Mark Babani, the socialist mayor of Vau i Dejes, near Shkodra. They expressed suspicions the mayor failed to mention the following in his declaration form: an arrest and deportation from Italy in the 1994-1999 period, an arrest and conviction in now North Macedonia in 2002-2003, and three other different identities (Mark Ndoc Babani, Marq Saimir Babaj, Ylli Saimir Babaj) apart from the two identities he actually reported (Mark Ndoc Babani, Mark Ndoc Babaj).

High officials in Albania are required by law to declare their past criminal activities. If such activity is not declared before running for office, the individual faces criminal charges according to the so-called Decriminalization Law.

Mayor Babani rejected allegations, stating that “Me, my father and grandfather- none of us have ever done even 24 hours of prison in our lives.”

Mark Babani is the third mayor the opposition has denounced for hiding their criminal past, following the June 30 elections held by the ruling Socialist Party. Mayor-elect Valdrin Pjetri withdrew from taking office after the PD alleged that he hid a conviction for drug-dealing. Mayor of Vora Agim Kajmaku is being investigated after the opposition published documents alleging he is wanted in Greece under an alias – Jorgo Toto.