Albania charges former Defence Minister

Fecha de publicación: 
10 Dic 2013

Albania's current Defence Minister, Mimi Kodheli, said the charges were backed by evidence, and had been prepared by a group of experts.

“I call on the general prosecutor to investigate these procedures that led to the massive abuse of state money,” she said.

Arben Imami served as defence minister from 2009-to-2013 in the centre-right government of Sali Berisha.

He is accused of holding a number of illegal tenders for the broadcast of TV adverts for the Ministry of Defence. If found guilty, the ex-minister risks seven years of imprisonment.

Reacting to the accusation, Imami said the charges filed against him in the prosecutor’s office by the new centre-left government of Edi Rama were politically motivated.

“The act committed today by the Prime Minister’s office through the Minister of Defence is an act of personal revenge,” he said in a statement.

“Rama crossed a political and ethical red line but his threats scare no one, much less me,” Imami added.

Rama is under pressure from the EU to tackle corruption and organized crime as a condition for Albania obtaining candidate status and making progress in its accession process.

On Sunday, six people, including a prosecutor and two courts secretaries, were arrested for corruption, following the publication of secretly filmed videos by the investigative TV show, Fiks Fare, on Top Channel TV.

The videos showed a middle man and court secretaries collecting thousands of euro on behalf of judges and prosecutors to free people jailed after a protest against a mining company.

In the case of one protestor whose case had reached the Supreme Court, a middle man sought 2,000 euro for the Chief Justice and 4,000 euro for the four other members of the judicial panel.