Egon Velaj who was recently appointed to the post of Director of Vlora prison has been found guilty of abuse of office in a court verdict delivered today.
Velaj was dismissed by Justice Minister Etilda Gjonaj from his post as Director of the Aluizni Vlora Regional Directorate on suspicion of corruption last year. The same Minister then appointed him as the Director of the Vlora prison on October 17 whilst he was a defendant in a criminal trial. The prosecution brought charges of abuse of office against Velaj based on Minister Gjonaj’s denunciation and dismissal of him last year.
The verdict was handed down against Velaj today at Vlora District Court and he was sentenced by Judge Atalanta Zeqiraj to six months in prison which was then converted to 12 months of probation. He has also been barred from holding any public office, such as the role he was appointed to on 17 October.
The initial dismissal of Velaj last year was championed by the Minister as an example of fighting corruption at high institutional levels. It is not known what changed in order for her to employ him a year later in a higher role. In addition to this, it is also not known how he was ever able to be considered as a candidate as being a defendant in an ongoing criminal matter should preclude him from running.
The Minister of Justice Etilda Gjonaj has not made any public comment about the case.