Albanian Prosecutor defies the CEC – Seizes Files of 19 MPs and Mayors with Criminal Records

Tirana, Albania | Tirana Echo – A day after the Central Elections Committee refused to lift mandates of 19 MPs and 11 mayors in Albania, the Prosecutor’s Office has seized the files of all names under investigation for past criminal records.

The Judicial Police stormed into the CEC premises this morning requesting the files of all MPs and mayors currently under investigation for not declaring previous criminal records under the so called ‘decriminalization’ law which obliges all public officials in Albania to declare all past illegal activities and any court convictions.

Last week, the Albanian General Prosecutor Adriatik Llalla asked the Central Elections Committee (CEC) to remove the mandate of socialist MP Armando Prenga, who according to the Prosecutor has not fulfilled his legal obligations in declaring past criminal activities in the decriminalization form.

According to the Prosecutor’s statement, Prenga has failed to declare a previous court verdict of falsification of documents as well as his criminal activity in Italy which range from falsifying documents, theft and using false identity, all confirmed by Italian authorities.

At the same time, the GP Office started investigating the Central Elections Commission of Albania (CEC) for failing to abide by its obligations during the ‘decriminalization’ process, noting several shortcomings in handling the administration of documents as well as in its cooperation with the Prosecutor.

Today’s move confirms the serious underlying clashes between the General Prosecutor and the CEC, indicating that the political and institutional crisis in Albania is deepening further.

The Prosecutor General has indicated that its Office is determined to go to the end of the ‘decriminalization’ process by going after all MPs and other public officials with undeclared criminal records, until their removal from duty.

In response to last week’s demand from the Prosecutor, the CEC said last night that “MPs Artan Gaçi, Asllan Dogjani, Blendi Klosi, Florian Mima, Luan Rama, Mhill Fufi, Pjerin Ndreu and Mayors Ndrec Dedaj, Xhelal Mziu, Zef Hila who have received a court verdict and have won their innocence or the case has been abandoned by competent Albanian authorities, the CEC notes that they are not subject to the law”.

The so called ‘Decriminalization’ Law, one of the toughest in Europe, was passed after European Parliament intervention in December 2015 by the Albanian Parliament. The US and the EU, fully backing the implementation of the decriminalization law, have offered to assist through technical experts best practices for investigating the backgrounds of government officials and political leaders.

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