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Albania Arrests Former Deputy Minister Over Dubious Surgical Equipment Concession

Former Albanian Deputy Minister of Health Klodjan Rrjepaj and three other persons were arrested related to the concession about the sterilization of surgical equipment, signed in 2015.

Albania’s special prosecution, SPAK, did not disclose the full names of the arrested people but media reported that besides him, two other arrested people are officials from the commission that granted the contract

The concession was valued at 100 million euros and the businessman who won the tender, Ilir Rrapaj, is among the arrested.

SPAK said the crimes for which they are accused are: “Abuse of duty” in collaboration, “Violation of the equality of participants in public tenders or auctions” in collaboration, and “Passive corruption of high public state officials or local elected officials”. SPAK charged eight people in total in this case.

On December 23, 2019, a few weeks after the establishment of SPAK, “Nisma Thurje” – a citizens’ movement that later transformed into a political party, sought the criminal liability of officials of the Ministry of Health which had signed the contract for the sterilization of surgical equipment.

In the report filed with SPAK, Nisma Thurje raises suspicions that the officials involved in this contract signed by the ministry in 2015 had violated the equality of participants in tenders, abused their duties and committed passive corruption by using public power to private benefit, as well as bringing great financial damage to the state budget.

The contract was signed in December 2015 between the former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqja and the company Sani Service – whose shareholders are Investital LLC and the Italian companies Servizi Italia, Tecnosanimed and U.Jet S.r.l.

The largest package with 40 per cent of the shares is owned by Investital LLC – a small company at that time founded with a capital of 1,000 euros in Kosovo by Ilir Rrapaj.

In a previous investigation, BIRN revealed that Rrapaj returned to Albania after the 2013 elections and, before winning the concession, established contacts with the former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj.

According to a report of the High State Control, equipment worth over 107 million lek (1,014,149 euros) purchased by the Albanian government was donated to the concessionaire free of charge and without any provision in the contract.

Source : Balkan Insight