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"Dynasty" Felaj in the Prosecutor's Office/KLP finalizes the transfer of the MP's sister to Tirana

2023-07-03 17:10:00, Vetingu CNA
"Dynasty" Felaj in the Prosecutor's Office/KLP finalizes the
The High Prosecution Council during the vote on the transfer of the sister of MP Felaj from Vlora to Tirana

The High Prosecution Council, KLP approved on Monday with six votes in favor and three votes against the transfer of prosecutor Eranda Felaj to the Prosecutor's Office of Tirana.

Eranda Felaj is the sister of the deputy of the Socialist Party, Ermonela Felaj, and joins her brother, Armando Felaj, judicial police officer, the latter's wife, prosecutor Alma Felaj, and her brother-in-law, Bledar Valikaj, in this prosecution.

Six of the present members voted in favor of the transfer: specifically, the deputy chairman Tartar Bazaj; Bujar Sheshi; Esmeralda Cami; Eloida Goxhi; Arta Mandro and Ledina Riza. Members Sokol Stojani, Nurihan Seiti and Mirela Bogdani voted against.

Meanwhile, KLP chairman Alfred Balla and member Zeqir Hoda were not present at the meeting.

The vote for the transfer of Felaj was preceded by discussions among the members of the KLP due to the meeting in the same prosecutor's office of four close family members of MP Felaj.

Member Nurihan Seiti said that the Council "must be sensitive to the sensitivity of this situation".

"Otherwise we are not in the function of the law," observed Seiti and requested that the Council take care of public trust, so that it does not seem as if nothing has changed compared to the previous prosecution, which was a centralized body. She asked for time to deal with Felaj's transfer, suggesting that they turn to the Constitutional Court to find a solution.

Deputy Speaker Tartar Baze intervened, stating that only those parts of the legislation that are unclear are sent to the Constitutional Court for interpretation. While Mandro proposed that a study be done to identify if there are similar cases and what impact they have brought on the functioning of the prosecution. She noted that KLP does not yet have a regulation that defines situations of environmental incompatibility, although the law obliges it to draft one.

Member Bujar Sheshi noted that the Constitutional Court had annulled the previous article, considering it an obstacle to career development and that later, in 2019, the Assembly had approved the relevant changes.

Next, member Sokol Stojani also presented his opinion. According to him, one of the goals of the justice reform was to attack bureaucracies and such situations.

"We are a small country and there are some family members in a prosecutor's office. Even in the dictatorship, nepotism is not allowed. Environmental incompatibility is determined to increase public confidence in justice. This is a nepotistic connection," he said and added that it was good that this situation was being addressed, since in this way the attention of the legislator could be drawn.

"Let's not be ridiculous. Even in the time of the dictatorship, such situations were treated and struck through humor, as in the case of 'Comrade Xhemal's brother-in-law'", Stojani brought to the attention of the Council the well-known humorous skit of the Shkodra variety show.

"We have to take care of the conflict of interest. This jumps. I don't think this is the right way, my brother-in-law and sister's brother-in-law can also come," he continued.

While the member Riza said that it was not known if this issue would be discussed so much, if it were not for the last name in question. But Seiti immediately intervened, asking him not to confuse the situation with adjectives. According to the latter, the fact that they are persons with family ties in an institution is important.

Member Bogdani said that it would have been better if the draft act for the transfer of prosecutor Eranda Felaj was suspended. She emphasized that she was worried about the public's trust in the Council and pointed out that some of the magistrates were dismissed precisely for violating the public's trust in justice.

But despite the concerns raised in the Council, the head of the KLP, Alfred Balla, declared almost at the same time during his report to the Assembly, that "we connected the names of the prosecutors with deputies".

"We are only concerned about environmental incompatibility. You should know that you yourself in 2019 passed a law, which came as a necessity of repealing what the Constitutional Court did to this article. We have also discussed the last case that you connected with several appointments that have a relationship between brothers and sisters-in-law at the Prosecutor's Office of Tirana. It was a coincidence that they applied to this great prosecutor's office," said Balla.

Regarding this situation, there were arguments on Monday between former Prime Minister Sali Berisha, other opposition MPs and Socialist MP Ermonela Felaj.

"You know that my family members and I have not been given the titles of politics, but education, sir. That the magistrates made schools, we are not poplars, we are not from Sali Berisha's list when he was president who made judges and prosecutors with lists," said Felaj.

The four family members of the socialist deputy were transferred to the Prosecutor's Office of Tirana within the last four years. In March 2019, the KLP decided to appoint as a prosecutor in Tirana through a controversial procedure the husband of the deputy, Bledar Valikaj, without first going through the vetting process. In May 2019, the General Prosecutor's Office selected, after a competitive procedure, the deputy's brother, Armando Felaj, as a judicial police officer in the Prosecutor's Office of Tirana. At the plenary meeting on May 29, the draft act was approved for the transfer of the latter's wife, Alma Felaj, from the Prosecutor's Office of Durrës to that of Tirana. On Monday, July 3, the sister of the socialist deputy, prosecutor Eranda Felaj, was also transferred from Vlora./ BIRN

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