From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Prosecution Hopes to Turn Suspects Into Witnesses in Police Uniform Tender Scandal

Prosecutors of the Special Court Against Corruption and Organized Crime (SPAK) are attempting to turn those accused of collaborating in the police uniform tender scandal into witnesses.

Euronews has reported that prosecutors are attempting to turn two of those charged with ‘violating tender equality”, into collaborators to shed more light on others involved in the deal. Specifically, who the leaders were and whether any more senior officials were involved.

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.

To date, nine current and former officials have been arrested. The at-the-time Minister of the Interior Sander Lleshaj said he had nothing to do with it and had actually raised the alarm last year.