The head of the Special Prosecution against Organized Crime and Corruption (SPAK), Arben Kraja has stated they will crack down on crime and corruption, arguing that their investigations may take time but they will eventually lead to convictions.
“Let me note that decision-making can take a long time but it is based [on laws] and it cannot be reversed,” Kraja stated during an event welcoming the new members of the National Bureau of Investigations (BKH), which mirrors functions of the FBI in the US.
Kraja listed the special prosecution office’s achievements in the last two years: a digital lab established with money confiscated from illegal activities; establishing ties with the Albanian police, secret service, and other agencies; getting access into the Albanian state’s database; establishing ties with international partners; launching 432 cases against suspected criminals, half of which have been ruled over; confiscating property worth €75 million.
The ambassadors of US and EU, the two entities that have strongly supported the justice reform in Albania, and particularly SPAK, commended the institution for its achievements and urged prosecutors to go after high-level corruption.
SPAK has arrested a number of low-level officials, culminating with the arrest of a former minister a few days ahead of the 2-year anniversary. Lefter Koka, a former minister of environment, faces charges of corruption related to the construction of a waste incinerator.
The opposition claims that he was arrested to divert attention from Prime Minister Edi Rama’s involvement in the affair, as well as Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj, Prime Minister’s Secretary General Engjell Agaci, former Minister of Finance Arben Ahmeti, and former Minister of Infrastructure Damian Gjiknuri.
The three incinerators will cost Albanian taxpayers roughly half a billion euros.