From: Alice Taylor
Ex-Interior Minister of Albania Denies Involvement in Police Uniform Tender Scandal

Former Minister of the Interior, Sander Lleshaj has stated that he had no involvement in the tender for police uniforms, for which 8 officials were arrested by SPAK last week.

He said that his role as Minister gave him no authority over procurement.

“As Minister of Interior, I did not have any personal incentive and, above all, no legal authority to be involved in any concrete procurement procedure. The procurement system in Albania has its own authorities of administration, management, control and appeal, where the minister has no role,” said Lleshaj in an interview with ABC News.

Lleshaj stated that he requested an investigation into the tender a year ago and that the case should not be politicized.

“I have publicly requested that in September last year this issue be investigated. The fact that this thing is happening is to be welcomed, while the attempts to make it political should be rejected “said Lleshaj.

The Special Prosecution against Corruption (SPAK) has arrested 8 current and former public officials for abuses related to a public procurement contract.

The former head for Public Procurement at the Ministry of Interior and several members of the committee for the evaluation of offers at the Public Procurement Agency were among the arrested.

They were investigated and later arrested for abuses concerning a € 23 million tender for the supply of Albanian police officers with uniforms through 2023.

The General Directorate for the Police issued a request for proposals in 2019 and awarded the contract to a consortium of companies in April 2020.

In August 2020, an opposition parliamentary group reported the tender to SPAK, accusing several officials of “abuse of office”—including Lleshaj—and alleging that the winner had been pre-selected despite not fulfilling the requirements.