From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Banks Refuse to Hand Over Data in Incinerator Corruption Probe

Albanian banks have refused the request of a parliamentary commission set up to investigate three controversial incinerator PPPs.

Companies with no experience in incinerating waste were handed three concessions to build and operate three incinerators, despite no demand and no public call. The contract terms mean the state pays the company for every day they are not functional, resulting in long delays in constructing and operating the sites.

An investigative commission, headed by Jorida Tabaku, was set up to probe the deal after the new parliament was formed in September.

The commission requested data for companies that Mirel Mertiri, Klodian Zoto and Stela Gugallia control from at least three commercial banks. Tabaku informed the commission on Tuesday that Raiffeisen Bank, Tirana Bank, and Abi Bank refused and used the same excuse, while Fi Bank and Pro Credit Bank complied with the request.

Exit Explains: Albania’s Three Waste Incinerators

The other banks asked have requested additional data on the individuals and companies.

“We will send a request to the Bank of Albania, we will repeat the request for information for all banks that have refused,” Tabaku said, adding criminal charges would be filed if they did not comply. She said there was no legal basis for refusal and cited a previous case where banks made data available for a committee, despite them not being the beneficiary of public funds.

The banks were criticised by other members of the opposition, including Belind Kellici, who said, “it is intolerable for banks not to bring data relating to a thief; they cannot dictate the work of the commission.”

Fourth Incinerator Concession Approved by Albanian Government

Socialist Party MP and deputy chair of the commission said that the banks’ refusal is in line with the law.

The State Police also refused to provide TIMS data (information on border crossings) for several government officials and beneficiaries of the concession, calling it a “state secret”. Furthermore, the companies involved failed to bring their financial balance sheets to the commission.