Prosecutors Donika Prela and Anton Martini were appointed today to the Tirana Prosecution Office. Both controversial prosecutors were previously part of the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office, that was dissolved in late 2019.
For over a year, Donika Prela served as head of the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office. Her appointment to this position was a crucial move of the justice reform carried out by Temporary General Prosecutor Arta Marku.
At the time Prela assumed the leadership of the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office, several major cases concerning politicians linked to organized crimes were being investigated. However, under Prela’s command these cases dragged on, were neglected, and some were closed.
In July 2019, Prela ran to be part of the Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office (SPAK). She was, however, disqualified by the High Prosecutorial Council (KLP). In October 2019, Prela asked to be transferred to the Appeals Prosecution Office or the General Prosecution Office.
Prela was confirmed by the first stage of the vetting process, via one of the most controversial Independent Qualification Commission (KPK) verdicts. The vetting investigation revealed that Donika Prela has allegedly committed tax evasion, failed to pay income taxes, engaged in suspicious and potentially unlawful financial transactions, borrowed money in cash without a legal contract from individuals that could not justify their assets, bought two apartments at a lower price than market average and sold them for profit, on which taxes were never paid.
Following an appeal filed by the Public Commissioner in April 2019, the Special Appeals Chamber (KPA) announced it would re-assess Prela’s confirmation, though a hearing date has yet to be decided.
Meanwhile, Anton Martini is the prosecutor who filed charges of treason and leaking of state secrets against police officer and whistleblower Dritan Zagani, and ordered his arrest. Zagani denounced former Minister Tahiri’s collusion with an international drug trafficking organization. Martini’s charges kept Zagani in jail for several months. Ultimately the Serious Crimes Court dismissed the charges against Zagani. The Court ruled that Zagani could only be investigated for abuse of office and handed over the case to the Fier district Prosecution Office.
Martini was confirmed by the first stage of the vetting process and has applied to become part of SPAK. A few days ago, the Public Commissioner appealed Martini’s confirmation.