Manastirliu Will “Protect” Beqaj’s Legacy of Abusive Concessions

Ogerta Manastirliu, the former director of the University Hospital Center Mother Theresa (QSUT) in Tirana, appointed by Prime Minister Edi Rama in September 2013, will take over from former Minister of Health Ilir Beqaj.

Beqaj’s primary accomplishments as minister was the establishment of several long-term healthcare concessions, all which were tendered out to government “favorites.” The long-term financial effects of the privatization of the “free” checkups, sterilization of equipment, medical laboratories, and hemodialysis will for many years be felt by the Albanian tax payer.

Manastirliu’s period as director shows that the tender procedures of the QSUT closely followed Beqaj’s practices. According to data from Open Data Albania, 56.6% of the QSUT tenders had only a single competitor, whereas the majority of tenders were awarded to two companies, Megapharma shpk and Rejsi Farma shpk, with the former receiving for than 40% of the tender awarded since 2016, at a total value of 425,239,992 lekë (~€3.1 million).

Megapharma, in turn, is owned in part of Rasim Hamzaraj, who happens to have acquired in November 2016, for the very low price of 30.1 million lekë, the company Evita shpk, which holds the concession on hemodialysis throughout the country for the next ten years. The contract itself is worth 8.6 billion lekë, or nearly 300 times the sum Hamzaraj paid for all the stocks of Evita.

New Minister of Health Manastirliu is therefore perfectly positioned to guard Beqaj’s “legacy.”