An Overview of Facts and Development related with the Albanian National Theatre. Deeply related with the Rule of Law and Democracy

AIS and ISP addressed the Ambassadors, Diplomats, and the International Organizations in Tirana and all of the friends of our country, through a letter listing the facts and developments related to the demolition of the National Theatre. The letter aims to raise awareness about the demolition of the National Theatre building being deeply an issue of rule of law and democracy. This overview is prepared using the summary tests already presented by KAS in publication entitled Autocratic Measures in the Shadow of Corona. We have equally considered also the facts and positions published by the Alliance for the Theatre and  Forum for Heritage Protection, as well as the official documents and positions of institutions like the President’s Office; the Council of Ministers; Municipality leaders and the Tirana Municipal Council.

Below is the letter (text)and the Overview of Facts (document).

AIS and ISP, civil society organizations have been closely following developments related to the National Theatre building. The institutional action finalized on May 17th, 2020 with the demolition of the Theatre, and several important developments are listed in an overview of the efforts to demolish the National Theatre Building.

The debate on the destruction of the National Theatre is not just part of the aesthetic or political conflict in the country. The institutional acts, omissions, and the Police operation of May 17th, contain elements that are deeply related with the Rule of Law and Democracy.

In our opinion, all the activity of the Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the Municipality of Tirana in the case of the National Theatre has been drafted and developed in contradiction with the Constitution. The Albanian Parliament has drafted a special law for the construction of the new national theater. By practically renouncing the new law, the Council of Ministers has also approved the Decision, but for the same purpose – the destruction of the theater. Both of these acts have been challenged in the Constitutional Court, the latter has accepted them and confirmed their adjudication, as soon as the quorum is met.

Without waiting for the decision of the Constitutional Court, secretly and contrary to all the principles and norms of law, the Municipality Council of Tirana within a day approves the demolition of the building of the national theater and within 24 hours this decision is executed at 4.30 am by the State Police. The State Police has used disproportionate violence and its actions are in violation of human rights, up to the detriment of the lives of artists and activists who were inside the National Theater building.

The action came after two years of struggle between the Albanian authorities and a part of the Albanian artistic community and citizens who intended to “save” the building from the government’s plans.

Instead of taking the time to examine the legality of their decision, and opening the dialogue with civil society and experts, the Albanian authorities decided to make use of the last day of the special health emergency measures taken in response to the COVID19 pandemic, to demolish the theater.

Europa Nostra, the European Voice of Civil Society committed to Cultural Heritage, considered that 17 May was a sad day for cultural heritage in Albania and in Europe as a whole. And it was also a sad day for democracy and respect of the rule of law and human rights in Albania and in Europe as a whole.

AIS and ISP urge the International Organisations, EU and friends of Albania to closely follow up the developments on the constitutional court proceedings for the requests of President of Republic, to monitor all the actions of the prosecution authorities for the investigation of the National Theatre case and non-proportionality forced used by police forces.

Please find the Overview of Facts and Development over the two last years related with the National Theatre, Here: En and  Sq

The moment of the start of Demolition of Albanian National Theater, Video RTSH

Amateur Video, armed Police Officers inside the Theater Building. Video filmed by Theater Activist Activists (English subtitles), Video 

Video and Audio (with subtitles), accompanied by journalist Ariglon Pali. Taken on the 17th of May inside the Police van. The Police officer orders the journalist to delete his recording and hand over his cell phone.

Amateur Video – Armed Rapid Reaction Forces getting out of the building fence – Morning of 17th of May

Amateur Video 17 May 2020 – Architect and Activist Doriana Musai testifies the moments of the demolition of the National Theater and Armed Rapid Reaction Forces getting out of the building siege

Amateur Video – Police removes actors and activists violently from the National Theatre –Video 1 , Video 2.

Actor Neritan Licaj escorted by Police – Amateur Video

Video – Photos of Albanian Drama Archives, part of the Albanian Literature Fund, Drama and Theatre Plays Ganre, written in 50 years by Albanian authors from Kosovo and the Republic of Albania. Now lost under the ruins. Photos before the demolition by Adela Budina.

Videos – Civic protest and confrontation with Police for hours during the demolition of the buildings (shoot by cell phone by B. Hysa)- Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4 

We will continue to monitor the legal and factual developments on this matter,

Parliament is voting on PPP concessionary contracts in the state of Natural Disaster

The Members of Parliament are going to vote during the state of emergency caused by the natural disaster due to COVID-19, on the April 30th parliamentary session, on a law approving an extension of the concessionary contract for Porto Romano Port in Durres.

In our opinion, this political decision of the Council of Ministers is in violation of the Law on Concessions and Public-Private Partnerships, i.e. Law No. 125/2013, and more specifically, its Article 33 “Rules for Awarding Additional Works and Services to PPP Consultancies”, whereby extensions of concessionary agreements may only be made in specific conditions, which relate to the need for the performance of works or services already foreseen by the existing agreement. Under no circumstances are political decisions and negotiations allowed for additions to, and extensions of, the scope of the concessionary agreement beyond the procurement procedure, adding to the rights and benefits of the concessionary.

In June 2015, the Albanian government signed a BOT concessionary agreement (construction, operation and transfer of Porto Romano’s property and operation right) for Porto Romano, Durres, for the processing of navigational vehicles carrying over 20 thousand tons of hydrocarbons, where the concessionary company can process hydrocarbons in depth of more than eight meters. Concessionary Agreement MBM Port was then owned by Adriatic Petrolium Platform ltd with 97% of the capital, and Salillari shpk; ATEC srl and Mampaey Offshore Industries BV with 1% each.

The structure of owners changed in February 2019 through donations and quota purchases, with Salillari finally owning 3% of the total capital, and Adriatic Bay Investment Group shpk owning 97% of the capital. The latter is a company of a controlling package owned by Kastrati Group, a commercial company, whose activity consists of import and export of hydrocarbons.

On February 24th, 2020, the Concessionary Company requested on the government to change the scope of the agreement, by extending it from Processing cruise vehicles that transport Hydrocarbon to processing transport means of other goods. This addition is accepted by the government within a few days, and on March 31st, an additional concessionary agreement is signed on behalf of the Albanian government through the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. This extension of the agreement was also passed by the Parliamentary Economy Commission and is expected to be voted by the parliament session Thursday, May 30th. Such a change in the concessionary agreement brings effects as far as shipping goods in the country and the region are concerned.

Documents of this concession include the draft law, and additional contract, which you can find in the passport of this concession under the Register of Concessions, Open Corporate Database of Albania

The change and extension of the concessionary scope is not done through competitive procedure, but simply by political will. Similarly, changes to the scope of the concessionary agreement were not associated with market research, concessionary tariff changes, investment value changes, technical studies, consultations, or any assessment of their effects.

Failure to comply with the legal requirements on the approval of concessionary contracts, and even worse, making such changes by political decisions and in times of a situation of natural disaster, is a political irresponsibility of the current ruling majority.

Concessionary contracts and Public-Private partnerships are expected to strongly affect the country’s economy and public finances in the years to come. Arbitrary decisions without legal regulation, on behalf of political decision-making, and in the absence of any procurement rules, are high-risk moments for this economic sector.

In these same days, the Albanian Road Authority, has announced a call for tenders for the construction of  the  Porto Romano Road, Durres, with a limit fund of 669 384 858 (six hundred and sixty-nine million, three hundred and eighty-four thousand, eight hundred and fifty-eight) Leke, equivalent to 5.44 Million Euros, giving priority to this port by allocating a budget from the state budget investment fund for 2020.

AIS, an organization promoting Open Data for Albania monitors public contracts and tenders. Our work consists of structuring information and documentation of the contracting process, as well as the creation of algorithms for risk assessment during contractual procedures.

Other notes and positions on issues with public contracting during the state of emergency have been published on AIS website:

Purchases for Covid-19 Situation, the Albanian Government applies Secrete Contracts, bypassing Participation and Transparency

AIS, an organization promoting Open Data Albania, observes with concern that the Albanian Government has decided, in an anti-constitutional manner, illegally, and without any legitimate need, to consider Secret Contracting and Procedures for purchasing during the emergency created by Covid-19.

You can find Here  COVID-19  Secrete Contracts titles

  1. Through two Decisions of Council of Ministers (DCM), namely: DCM No. 203, dated 26.02.2020 “On procedures to be used for signing Contracts dictated by the State Essential Interest” and amendments made by DCM No. 242, dated 22.03.2020 “On some amendments to Decision No. 203”, the Council of Ministers considers procedures and contracting related to Covid-19 as equal to Secret Contracting LINK.
  2. This DCM is in contradiction with the Constitution. Article 118, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania provides that “The Law shall authorize the issuance of secondary legislation, assign a competent body, issues to be regulated, as well as the principles on the basis of which such legislation is issued”. Article 6 of the Public Procurement Law (which the Council of Ministers refers to in issuing this DCM) does not authorize the issuance of any Special Normative Acts for secret contracts, contracts requiring special safeguards, or contracts dictated by the state essential interest. DCM No. 203 does not contain any definition of the situation, circumstances, or cases when “state esential interest” are applicable, but leaves it under the case-by-case discretion of the contracting authorities; In other words, the term “state essential interest” is not legally regulated, and it remains an abstract concept, which is not defined, and which is left up to the subjective decision of the authorities, increasing thus the risk of arbitrariness.
  3. The above-mentioned Decisions of the Council of Ministers lead to situations, where clients are selected without any published calls for expression of interest, which makes it impossible to identify and look for efficient operators. In this time of crisis, the possibilities for supplies are limited and characterized by dynamic changes. Many are applying innovative forms, in order to enable as fast tracing and identification of the leading suppliers as possible, ensuring supplies in the current situation. Governments cannot trace these suppliers by communicating with one client only, leaving no room for presentation and participation. This approach violates every Principle of Participation and Competition.
  4. The Government has made an unjustified intervention, as long as the Albanian Legislation (Law No. 9643/2016) regulates already the Negotiation Procedure and Limited Procedure quite well, which could already provide for fast, efficient, and useful purchases, without any need for secret operations. These two procedures, already provided for by the national Legislation, do guarantee the possibility for supplies in situations of emergencies and disasters, guaranteeing Proportionality.
  5. On the other hand, all the elements of a contract, such as the scope of purchase; process; characteristics and specifications of goods or services to be purchased, would not be subject to any Publication; Transparency; and Accountability for purposes of Ensuring Trust and Public Oversight, given that they are going to be secret.
  6. Violation of the Principle of Open and Transparent Governance. The Albanian Government is avoiding the principle of Open Government, and this happens at a time when the Reformed Legislation in the Area of Contracting in several European countries, and not only, requires all contracts made in cases of emergency to be fully published as open data. This is to recall that since 2009, Albania is part of the Open Government Partnership, taking a special commitment in the context of Procurement Sector, not yet fulfilled.
  7. Classification of these contracts (procedures) as secret because of the essential interest of the state falls against even the Normative Act of the Government on Announcement of Situation of Natural Disaster itself, an act which contains no provisions restricting the Constitutional Right to Information (Article 23 of the Constitution).


Our organization considers these acts of the Government as anti-constitutional, illegal, unjustified, and in contradiction with the basic principle of good governance, i.e. Accountability and Transparency. Direct Negotiation (Article 33 of the Procurement Law) and the Request according to the Limited Procedure (Article 31 of the Procurement Law) are sufficient to guarantee fast, efficient, and intelligent Contracting and Procurement, and proportional to the Essential Interests of the People of a State.


AIS joins the Open Contracting Partnership Recommendations for Governance, recommendations for Purchases in the situations created by Covid-19, for Fast, Smart and Transparent Purchases (Open)

Treasure Transactions for one week: 12 to 19 March 2020 (88.4 million Euros) – only 1.1 % Economic Assistance from Municipalities


All the payments made by the budgetary institutions are accessible on the Spending Data Albania portal, under the Treasury Transactions section.

Tender for the Reconstruction Program for the State-Supported Share

Open Procurement Albania publishes information for procurement procedures worth of 9.4 billion Albanian Lek (76,42 million Euros) for Homes and Schools damaged by the Earthquake. The Government opts for Limited Procedure, avoiding open bidding competition. The 20-days timeframe for submission of requests by interested competitors is not respected.

Data, documents, and information on every stage of such procedures can be easily accessed in our database for transparent procurement:

The Albanian government through the Albanian Development Fund has announced contractions worth 900 400 410 141 (nine billion and four hundred million and ten thousand and one hundred and forty-one Albanian Lek). Equivalent to 76,42 million Euros). Purpose of tender: Construction of Homes and Schools in the regions affected by the Earthquake (November 2019) The financing is from the state budget. The procedure applied is the limited procedure (not open). This procedure requires interested parties to submit a request to the authority, and then the authority selects the bidders based on the eligibility criteria, and not on the bids they have submitted. The selected companies or operators are then notified of their selection and asked to submit their bids to the authority, which selects the best bid. This non-open procedure is envisioned by the Law on Public Procurement (Law No. 9643, Article 31). The law requires such procedures to be used only when it is necessary to make a difference between the selection phase, where candidates are qualified/disqualified, and the phase of deciding who the winning operator is following a review of their bids. The Limited Procedure is to apply in specific cases and requires legal arguments. With the bidders already known (through the selection phase), the process is more likely to present risks for the competition and efficiency compared with the Open Procedure. The contracting authority would have to carefully argue why it opted for this procedure. Such arguments are not found in the information made available for the public regarding the tender documents, or in any reports by the Albanian Development Fund.

The list of procedures published on 10 and 11 March includes:

  1. Reconstruction of individual houses in areas affected by the earthquake. As part of the reconstruction process. Reference of this procedure REF – 53475-03-09-2020 with a fund limit of 5 525 192 288 (five billion and two hundred and twenty-five million and one hundred and ninety-two thousand and eighty-eight Albanian Lek). The scope of the Framework Agreement includes the reconstruction of individual houses as per the model projects (1+1, 1+2, 1+3) in the territory of Durrës, Kamza, Kavajë, Rrogozhinë, Krujë, Kurbin, and Lezha municipalities. Mirdita, Shijak, and Vorë. According to the Standard Document, the house reconstruction can be done as a group or separately on the site of existing houses, as designated by the mandatory local plans. The procuring authority is the Albanian Development Fund. The interested parties are only given nine calendar days (not working days) to submit their bids. Based on Law No. 9643 and No. 34, and Decision No. 914 of the Council of Ministers, the time available for bidders to submit their tenders is 20 days, which is a criterion that the Authority has not met, putting the procedure at risk. The tender submission deadline is set in contradiction with the 20-days deadline. On this procurement passport, under Open Procurement Albania, you will find the documents accessible for the public. LINK Shtepi Termeti – FOndi

  2. Equally, a Lot Procedure was announced on March 17th for a total fund limit of 4,175,217,853 (four billion and one hundred and seventy-five million and two hundred and seventeen thousand and eight hundred and fifty-three) Albanian Lek without VAT. The budget available for 2020 is 1,043,804,463 Albanian Lek without VAT. Lots include:
  3. Lot 1. Reconstruction of schools in areas affected by the earthquake funded by the Reconstruction Fund through the budget approved by Decision No. 212, dated 11. 03. 2020 on The use of the Reconstruction Fund to fund reconstruction of schools. The fund limit without VAT is 511 405 370 Albanian Lek (without VAT).
  4. Lot 2. Reconstruction of schools in Kavaja Municipality for an amount of 490 413 615 Albanian Lek without VAT. The buildings to be reconstructed under Lot 2 include the 9-year elementary school “Selman Daci”, the 9-year elementary school “Ramazan Jangozi”, the 9-year elementary school “Kastriot Derveni”, the 9-year elementary school “Gjon Luka” in Luz village, which cover all a surface of approximately 10 691 m2. The tender was announced on 17th of March, while the deadline for the submission of bids is 27th of March. LINK
  5. Lot 3. The Reconstruction of Schools in Durres Municipality consists of 845 723 696 Albanian Lek without VAT. The schools included in Lot 3 are: the 9-year elementary school and the kindergarten “Bedrie Beziqi”, kindergarten “Met Hasa”, the 9- year elementary school “Neim Babameto”, the 9-year elementary school “Qemal Mici, the 9-year elementary school “Hasan Koci” with a total construction surface of approximately 18 438 m2. Linku
  6. Lot 4. The Reconstruction of Schools in Durres Municipality 2, value 850 692 969 Albanian Lek. The schools to be reconstructed under Lot 4 include “Shaqe Mazreku” School, the United High School “Rexhep Mezini”, the 9-year elementary school and kindergarten “Adem Gjeli”, 9-year elementary school “Xhelal Shtufi Shkafanaj”, 9-year elementary school “Njazi Mastori 2+3”, pre-elementary school and kindergarten, 9-year elementary school “Haradinaj Brothers” with a total construction surface of all buildings of approximately 18 545 m2. LINK
  7. Lot 5. The reconstruction of schools in Kavaja Municipality and Rogozhina for 414 766 205 Albanian Lek without VAT. The schools to be reconstructed under Lot 5 include: the vocational school “Charles Teleford Erickson”, “26 Marsi” vocational school, the dormitory in Golem, the 9-year elementary school in Gose village, the pre-elementary school and kindergarten in Vile Bashtove, which cover all a construction surface of approximately 9041 m2.
  8. Lot 6. The reconstruction of schools, Kamëz Municipality, value 621 757 340 Albanian Lek without VAT. The schools to be built under Lot 6 include the 9-year elementary school “Halil Coka”, the secondary school “Sulejman Elezi”, the kindergarten “Niko Hoxha”, the kindergarten “Lidhja e Prizrenit” in Paskuqan, the kindergarten “Halit Coka”, which cover all a total surface of approximately 13 555 m2. Link
  9. Lot 7. The reconstruction of schools in the municipality of Shijak for an amount of 440 458 658 Albanian Lek without VAT. The schools covered by lot 7 are: the 9-year elementary school Ramadan Subashi, 9-year elementary school Ahmetaq, Kindergarten in “Kodër Bërxullë”, “Marqinet” Kindergarten, “Lidhja e Prizrenit” Elementary School, “16 Shtatori” High School, Kindergarten number 1, “Vlashaj” Kindergarten, “Kajo Karafili” High School with total construction are of all schools approximately 92602 m2.

Dear friends, we wish you are well and safe in these difficult weeks of Covid 19 pandemic. Our staff is teleworking since the 10th of March. Each of us is safely working from home, being in online communication with each other, our collaborators, and targets groups. In these difficult days we continue to disclose data, ensure transparency and assess risks related with payment and public contracting to strengthen information, transparency and accountability. Our motto: Follow Taxpayers’ Money

Treasury transactions. How and how much are being paid by the budgetary institutions for their bills.

Every Treasury Transactions made by our budgetary institutions, be it common or emergency payments. The Treasury Transactions is a well-structured database containing data about every payment made by budgetary institutions. The data catalogue has information on any transaction from 2012 and onwards. In addition, using search engines and communication filters, you may access information about payments made by institutions, by categories of expenses, and beneficiaries, according to the payment amount. We will continue updating our information every Friday.

Access here:

What the Health Sector is procuring includes small purchases for the safety of the regional doctors

Are our Health institutions purchasing through negotiations for emergencies or through common purchasing procedures? We have a track record of all the public health sector investments and purchases. In the past two weeks, several modest purchases have been recorded for the reinforcement of hygienic protection for health buildings.

Link health tenders

Other transparent procurements for the following institutions are being updated with accessible and well-structured documents on our databases:

Tenders for Local Government Units: Open Procurement Municipality and subordinate institutions


Tenders of the Central Purchasing Agency, purchases for executive institutions LINK

Transparent procurements by the Albanian Road Authority, tenders for infrastructure

Tenders by state-owned companies (SOCs) buying, the major suppliers of massive services, such as drinking water, electricity, etc. LINK, an e-learning platform, in quarantine empowering itself for a well-paid and online labor market.

Our most useful database in times of quarantine The ODK and AIS have applied the last two years an e-Learning platform for enabling young people develop their digital skills, a program that enables training on skills for an innovative market of Information Technology. The database is designed to assist students in Kosovo and the high school students of Lezha and Kurbin, Albania, to develop for a safe job market. From today, our e-Learning platform Kursori is open to everyone. Young people and anyone else may obtain three levels of skills to develop their capacity, so they can make the most of it to get maximum and not waste their time while in quarantine. Kursori.Org is supported by the European Delegation as an activity of the Open ICT Education for Youth Employability Project and is financed by an EU IPA cross–border project. The objective of the project is to foster youth employability providing open access to critical ICT knowledge and skills, and strengthening cross–border cooperation between the education institutions. In times of quarantine, this is a useful tool for PROFESSIONAL training and development that allows you to work from home. We are opening this platform for everyone, it’s in Albanian. Click here to register for training.


7 January 2020, Top Story Media Programme: 1 in 3 tenders with no fair competition. Open data promote investigative journalism and enable reporting of corruption over Albanian taxpayers’ money

On January 7th, Top Story, an investigative show, reported on forms of fraud with public procurement tenders in the country. Journalist Entela Bajramaj and the national Top Channel TV team introduced shocking facts on Top Story, such as one in every three tenders being conducted without fair competition. 300 million Euros of taxpayers’ money seem to be lost every year due to abuse with, and misappropriation of, clientelist tenders.







AIS, the organization promoting open data in Albania contributed to this courageous television investigation through data released from three important open data databases. Namely:

• Data concerning tenders and contracts with competition issues published on Open Procurement Albania portal

• data concerning clientelist companies published on Open Corporate Albania

• and data concerning payments from the state budget published on Spending Data Albania.

In addition to open data released from our databases, including clear and denouncing arguments, contribution to this programme was also made by Director Aranita Brahaj, who elaborated on the shortcomings of tender procedures.

Corruption is one of the most problematic issues for the country. Justice institutions or anticorruption mechanisms in the country are weak to non-existent. Nevertheless, media and watchdog organisations continue to report facts and contribute against abuse with public money. For four years, AIS has been publishing data and assessing risk of tender irregularities, known as Procurement RedFlag, providing information and identifying issues with every tender conducted by municipalities, the Albanian Development Fund, the Albanian Road Authority, the health sector, and public-owned companies.
Top Story program and Promo are available on YouTube channel

Albania 1 Euro – The Government rented eight state properties for 916 new jobs

The Albanian Government has signed eight contracts in 2019 for economic subjects that have obtained actual rights over state property against a symbolic price of 1 Euro. The Albania 1-Euro programme aims to give potential employers state property to use aiming at increasing private investments and the number of employees. In 2019, six businesses and a non-profit organization have benefited from this programme. Only one of the contractors is a foreign investor. Properties granted for use in 2019 for 1 euro only for up to 60 years are mainly industrial objects and military objects. In total, the Government has granted 537 503 square meters of total surface for 916 new jobs, without any contractual requirements for the people to be Albanian citizens. The investor, who has obtained the largest area is the Albanian company Blu Imperial . More jobs in exchange for the Albania 1 Euro project are expected to be created by the Korean company Yura Co.Ltd , which will open a plant for electric parts for cars. Its investment is estimated to be 6.5 million Euros and expected to create 516 jobs. Open Corporates Albania has prepared transparent passports for the business companies that have won rental contracts for only 1 euro for state property.