Albania Justice Vetting Kicks Off with Constitutional Judge Fired Over Shady Financial Disclosures

The Albanian Constitutional Court
The Albanian Constitutional Court

Tirana, March 23 (Tirana Echo) – Albania’s justice reform vetting process has kicked off with a high ranking member of the Constitutional Court being fired today over shady disclosures of his financial assets.

Fatos Lulo was expelled today from the newly created Independent Commission of Qualifications (ICQ) as part of the wider ‘Vetting’ process after the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflicts of Interest (HIDAA) had stated his financial sources were unjustified.

The decision of the ICQ makes Lulo the first successful case of the so called ‘vetting’ process which is expected to scan Albania’s judges and prosecutors.

According to HIDAA, Judge Lulo had failed to justify the source of $100,000 USD given to him by his sister as well as a contract for a property loan in Canada in the value of $480,000 USD.

Lulo’s lawyer Ardian Visha considered the decision as unfair and said his client would appeal at the Special Appeals College.

According to unconfirmed reports, the General prosecutor’s Office is already preparing a case for investigating the constitutional court judge.

Commenting immediately after the decision of the ICQ, Albania’s prime Minister Edi Rama said that “those Albanians who supported the vetting process should feel good today. I am sure we haven’t seen anything yet.”

Albania is under constant pressure from the European Union and the United States to clean its highly corrupt justice system and pave the way for eventual EU membership.

Earlier this week, EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hinted the EU might open accession talks with Albania this year noting that the small Balkan country “has made progress towards meeting the political criteria for membership and, overall, steady progress continued in the five key priorities – reforming the judiciary and the public administration, fighting corruption and organised crime, and protecting human rights.”

 

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