From: Exit Staff
PD Denounces Fifth Socialist Party Mayor for Criminal Past

A Socialist Party mayor has been found to have a criminal record that should have excluded him from running for office. Despite Mayor of Mat Agron Malaj declaring it on his decriminalisation form, he was still allowed to run, and win, becoming Mayor after the 30 June local elections.

The fifth such incident since the 30 June local elections, PD Secretary-General Gazmend Bardhi claimed to be in possession of a document showing that Mayor of Mat Agron Malaj had a previous criminal conviction from 1999.

“Agron Malaj was sentenced by a final court decision for illegal possession of a firearm and is banned from running for public office forever.”

The PD requests the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Central Election Commission to act without delay in administering the official decision of the Mat court and removing the mandate for the mayor of Mat Agron Malaj,” said Bardhi.

Malaj was announced as the PS candidate for Mat on 11 May. He had previously held the post of guard commander but was dismissed by former Interior Minister Saimir Tahiri in 2013. He was then made the PS chief of Mat, and appointed to a directorship in OSHEE.

He is the fifth mayor to be denounced by the PD for having criminal convictions. The PD previously found that Valdrin Pjetri, Mark Babani, Agim Kajmaku and Qerim Ismailaj had allegedly tried to hide their past. It appears that in the case of Malaj, he declared it but was allowed to run for office in breach of the law regardless.

Pjetri resigned, an arrest warrant was issued for Kajmaku who is now “on the run”, and investigations into Babani and Ismailaj are ongoing.

One of the lawyers for the PD, Enkelejd Alibeaj claimed in a television interview that there are 15 Socialist mayors being looked at by the PD and more names will be published. Albania has 61 mayors.