The Democratic Party have published documents that indicate the company that owned the Sharra landfill site where 17-year-old Ardit Gjoklaj died in 2017, has been renamed and given a new license by the government.
Gjoklaj’s body was found at the landfill and it later emerged that he was illegally employed by the company, 3R shpk. The company had not registered him and were not paying the applicable taxes and social security contributions as required by law. Gjoklaj was also underage and uninsured at the time of his death. It was alleged that he was killed due to an accident causing ‘blunt force trauma’ that occurred in the absence of proper health and safety conditions.
The owner of the company 3R shpk, Edurim Teqja was declared as wanted by the police but following a botched investigation, no charges were ever brought against him. Instead, he was allowed to rename the company to Alb-Tech Plast shpk and received a new license from the Ministry of the Environment in April 2019.
When the child’s death took place, the landfill was working with the Municipality and Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj promoted it as a great place to work “for a job with social security”. Furthermore, Teqja was at the time, the head of the Socialist Party in Peqin.
Two journalists who tried to investigate and report on the scandal were censored and fired. One of the journalists, Alida Tota was attacked in a pro-government media smear campaign and temporarily left the country, fearing for her life.
Veliaj has been accused of interfering in the publication of material relating to the death and the Socialist Party boycotted a parliamentary media committee to prevent Tota from testifying on it in public.
In a Facebook post, Democratic Party spokeswoman Ina Zhupa provided documents that the company had changed name and been approved for a new license. She commented that;
The state not only took no action for the violations but today it has again licensed it in the same field of activity. The more you abuse, kill, and enslave people, the easier it is to do business with Rilindja [PM Rama’s name for the ruling Socialist Party]. This is the business model the government promotes, while honest businesses are being shut down every day.
To date, no one has been found guilty on charges relating to his death or working conditions at the Sharra landfill.