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Two new SP mayors accused of ties with criminal past

TIRANA, Aug. 9 – After the prosecution launched on Tuesday an investigation into the past of Shkodra’s newly-elected Socialist Party Mayor Valdrin Pjetri, more individuals with dubious criminal past were reported to be among the SP’s appointed candidates.

Due to the Decriminalization Law (enacted in 2016 after a long parliamentary fight of the opposition aided by European Parliament mediation, providing for officials with previous criminal convictions to be removed from office), it appears that at least two of the newly voted Mayors may lose their local ‘mandate’.

Similar allegations as towards Pjetri have been raised on the new Mayor of the city of Vora, who has used two different identities, respectively the names of Agim Kajmaku and Jorgo Toto. There are accusations that he has used the false Toto identity during his stay in Greece where he has faced justice for his criminal activities. 

The new accusations come a few days after the US State Department banned the entry into the US of the former SP Mayor of Durres, Vangjush Dako, upon accusations of corruption and links with criminal structures as proved by the VoA, BIRN and  Bildzeitung revelations on vote buying.

After the June 30 local elections, which saw the complete boycott by the country’s opposition parties, 60 out of 61 new mayors were appointed by the ruling SP party. The Decriminalization law has affected numerous Mayors with heavy criminal records backed by Rama’s SP. The most notorious case being the one of Kavaja where the than Mayor Roshi, had used up to five identities while being sentenced in the past for gang rape and drug trafficking.

Meanwhile, the Central Election Commission (CEC) has refused to assess the request of three opposition parties to register for the upcoming local elections October 13, as stated by the Presidential Decree of 27 June, 2019.

The official deadline to register for the elections of October 13 was 4th of August. 

The CEC refusal was due to the “summer leave” of four out of five active members of the CEC, making therefore impossible the necessary quorum for any decision-making. The four members on leave, are all representatives of the Socialist Party.

Over the last few weeks, the Italian Rai 3 TV channel aired a five series investigative report on the activities of international organised crime in Italy.

During the 2nd report aired on Wednesday, 7th of August, the Italian anti-mafia prosecutor, Nicola Gratteri declared that organized crime in Albania is untouchable.  

“They become rich, and they commit crimes. The mafia in Albania is supported and protected by all the levels of the government, from those below up to the highest levels. […] [In Italy], we can’t focus only on our mafia, but we have to worry even more for the Albanian one. They are worrisome. […]. They transport to Italy alongside with cannabis, also cocaine, which they go and bring in themselves from Latin America,” he said. 


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