Balla admits: I appointed Mürtir's man for 1 hour

2024-02-12 18:11:00, Aktualitet CNA
Balla admits: I appointed Mürtir's man for 1 hour
Minister of the Interior, Taulant Balla

The Agency for the Administration of Seized and Confiscated Assets, AAPSK – which administers the seized properties of corruption and organized crime in Albania changed two leaders within an hour on Monday.

The Ministry of the Interior initially appointed Ferdinand Tarazhin as the chief administrator of AAPSK, but his appointment was withdrawn after the opposition MP, Belind Kelliçi, denounced his working relationship with the "Integrated Energy" company that managed the Sharra landfill.

"In June 2023, this character is employed as the Director of Operational Services at the Sharra landfill by Integrated Energy BV SPV, as a trusted person," Kelliçi declared to the media, accusing Tarazh of having a relationship with Mirel Mërtir and his situation in conditions of conflict of interest.

The concessionary company "Integrated Energy" BV SPV mandated by the Albanian government for the construction of an incinerator in Tirana was seized at the end of July 2023 and has been administered since then by the Seized and Confiscated Assets Administration Agency.

According to the Special Prosecutor's Office, SPAK, the actual owners of "Integrated Energy" are the two fugitive businessmen, Mirel Mërtiri and Klodian Zoto, who are accused of corruption and money laundering with the other two incinerator companies in Elbasan and Fier.

Asked by BIRN about the command at the head of the Tarazhi Agency, Interior Minister Taulant Balla hinted that his command order had been in effect for less than an hour and had been changed due to an apparent conflict of interest.

Balla added that he then commanded Idriz Haxhiajn to head the Agency, who held the position of Director of the Directorate of Policies and Strategies of Public Order and Security in the Ministry of the Interior.

Balla, however, insisted that he had only signed Haxhiaj's command.

" I only made this order ", said the minister, while adding that the position would be subject to an open competition and the new permanent director would emerge from this open competition.

Tarazhi – also a career civil servant at the Ministry of the Interior, admitted to BIRN that he had only worked for the company "Integrated Energy" BV SPV for a month before it was placed in sequestration by SPAK.

Tarazhi denied that he was hired by Mertiri.

"Mërtiri did not appoint me, I do not know Mërtiri. I was appointed by the Dutch administrator," Tarazhi said in a telephone conversation.

The Sharra landfill is part of the concession contract between the Albanian government and the company Integrated Energy BV SPV and the place where the urban waste of the most populated area of ??Albania is deposited - including the municipalities of Tirana and Durrës.

Since signing the contract with the government, the "Integrated Energy" company has collected about 100 million euros from the disposal of urban waste and soil, but the incinerator was never built./ BIRN

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