Residents from the area of Laprake in Tirana have reported construction company Salillari to the special prosecutors for corruption and crime (SPAK) over plans to demolish their homes.
They have been protesting for several days in the area where their homes are to be demolished to make way for the constriction of the Great Ring Road, which has already seen hundreds of apartments and private houses demolished across the capital.
Like many of those in the outer areas of Tirana, the residents’ properties were built in the 90s and early 00s. following the fall of communism and amid political and social chaos and even civil war. The communist regime seized almost all private property, and as much was not returned, Albanians flocked to the capital following the states collapse in 1991, and built wherever they could.
In an effort to make their homes legal, a legalisation process was introduced by the government over two decades ago, but it is slow and many cases are delayed.
As for the residents of Laprake, they say their applied to legalise their properties 17 years ago but are still waiting. They claim Salillari, who was awarded the government contract to construct the road, is behind this. In addition, they accuse the company of profiting from illegal tenders. They have also filed a complaint about the Cadastre, the institution charged with legalising properties.
They told the media, “we have decided to address SPAK with a criminal report against the Cadastre and Salillari who won this tender for which we have doubts. Residents have been waiting since 2006 for their apartments to be legalized.
Another resident said they made the application in 2005 and the negative response came one week ago, after their homes were already earmarked for demolition. They said they are not against the project but insisted the legal issues be resolved first.
If a home is not legalised before being demolished, the state is not obliged to give any compensation or find them alternative accommodation.
“Albanian laws are being violated. I call on the institutions to have dialogue, to give a solution and then to continue with the project,” the resident said.
Similar situations occurred in the Astir part of the city where citizens protested for over a year, clashing with police on numerous occasions. Many of those who had applied for legalisation and were paying all the applicable taxes, found their cases delayed and then papers stuck on their door, announcing demolition would be imminent.