Policy Paper “Financial control and the process of opening European Integration negotiations for Chapter 32”

The Policy Paper “Financial control and the process of opening European Integration negotiations for Chapter 32” was drafted by the Albanian Institute of Science AIS / Open Data Albania, during the implementation of C1 – EU – NPA

Project “Improving the Debate on Policies and Accountability to Fulfill Basic Rights”, through the creation of the Cluster 1 Albania Negotiation Platform.

This project is being implemented by four Albanian organizations: the Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance CSDG, the Institute for Political Studies ISP, the Albanian Helsinki Committee AHC and the Albanian Institute of Science AIS, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana.

See the event agenda HERE

You will find enclosed below the following items:

  • Policy Paper “Financial control and the process of opening European Integration negotiations for Chapter 32” (PDF link)
  • Summary and conclusions Financial control and the process of opening European Integration negotiations for Chapter 32 (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 1 – Summary of the progress done by Albania based on NPIE 2021 – 2023_Chapter 32 (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 2 – Existing legal framework for Financial Control (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 3 – Progress Report for Albania – Yearly assessment by EC (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 4 – EC Assessments, Opinions and Recommendations for Chapter 32 (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 5 – Objectives & priorities defined in the NPEI 2021-2023 Chapter 32 (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 6 – Objectives and priorities defined in PIFC 2021-2023 Chapter 32 (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 7 – The role of Albanian Institutions in the National Plan for European Integration (PDF link)
  • ANNEX 8 – EC Progress Report – Juxtaposition with countries in the region (PDF link)

Findings, Opinions or Recommendations expressed in this event represent the viewpoints of the experts and the AIS organization and do not coincide with the responsibility of the partners or supporters of the C1-EU-NPA Project.

H.E.Mr. Reinout Vos – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Albania

 

Mrs.Aranita Brahaj, director of AIS/ Open Data Albania

Prof. Lindita Lati Milo

Mr. Eduart Shalsi, Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee Economy and Finance and Mr. Arbi Agalliu member of Parliamentary Committee for Economy and Finance

Mr. Eduart Gjokutaj, ALTAX

Mr.Fran Brahimaj, Local Finance Director, at MoFE

Mrs. Oriada Tare

Mrs. Anila Cili

Mrs. Albana Gjinopulli

Money Laundering in the Context of the Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty, AIS position, Analysis and Conclusions

Albanian Institute of Science has carefully analyzed the draft law on “Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty of entities submiting voluntary declaration” initiated by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice and presented for Public Consultation by the Albanian Government on June 23, 2022. The deadline for the submission of opinions and recommendations on the draft daw during the consultation process is July 23, 2022.

The organization examined various aspects related to the country’s current circumstances and the amnesty, such as: the fiscal policy and administration; the degree of informality; the fight against corruption and the risk of money laundering as a result of criminal offences. Likewise, a separate report analyzed issues of harmonization of the draft with the national criminal legislation, testing the principle of legal safeguards.

In the end, the two Documents drafted were presented in a meeting, held on July 19th, with guests and participants from the relevant institutions, international organizations in the country, representatives from EU countrues Embassies, field experts and civil society actors and the Media.

Event Agenda

The two Documents contain an analysis, conclusions, recommendations, as well as short-term and long-term alternatives to the recent Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty. More specifically:

  • Policy Position Paper: Money Laundering in the Context of Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty (See more HERE)
  • Technical Report: Fiscal Amnesty Issues and Problems of Harmonization with the Criminal Legislation (See more HERE)

The Policy Position Paper and the Technical Report were presented as part of civil society initiatives, which aim to contribute to the Country’s European integration.

Both documents will be submitted to the Albanian government, the Parliament of Albania and Stakeholders, as official Position and Recommendations from civil society.

Conclusions, Recommendations and Alternatives, as presented on the July 19th event (See more HERE)

The Albanian Institute of Science, widely referenced as Open Data Albania, will continue to participate in the process of consultation and technical discussion concerning the present draft law, even when the latter will be submitted for debate in the Assembly.

We deem our participation of paramount importance, given the importance of the process, the assessed risks, issues of the legal framework and harmonization of the legislation, and many other fecets related to the governing majority initiative.

AIS has also prepared an Analytical Report on the History of Fiscal Amnesties and Voluntary Asset Declarations in Albania from 2008 to 2017.

The Policy Document “Money Laundering in the Context of the Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty” was drafted by the Albanian Institute of Science AIS/Open DataAlbania, in implementation of the C1 – EU – NPA project “Improving the Debate on Policies and Accountability for Fulfilled Basic Rights” through the creation of the Negotiation Platform of Cluster1 Albania. The C1 – EU – NPA project is implemented by four Albanian organizations: Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance CSDG, Institute of Political Studies ISP, Albanian Committee of Helsinki KSHH and Albanian Institute of Science AIS, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana.

The Findings, Opinions or Recommendations expressed in this Document represent the viewpoint of experts and AIS and do not necessarily reflect those of our partners or supporters of the C1 – EU – NPA Project.

“Money Laundering in the Context of Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty” activity, organized by the Albanian Institute of Science/Open Data Albania

H.E.Mr. Reinout Vos – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Albania , Prof. Dr. Petraq Milo – Field Expert

Mr.Alexis Hupin, Head of the EU Policy and Integration Section, EU Delegation to Albania; Mr.Karel Urban, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Albania; Mr.Jonas Paul, Political Officer in the Delegation of the European Union to Albania

H.E.Mr. Reinout Vos – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Albania

Prof. Dr. Petraq Milo – Field Expert

Mr.Viktor Gumi – AIS Legal Expert

Mrs. Monika Meça, Head of the Legal Unit for the Coordination of Priority Initiatives and the Acquis, Regulatory and Compliance Department in the Prime Minister’s Office

Mrs. Aranita Brahaj, Director of the organization Albanian Institute of Science/Open Data Albania

Mrs. Elsonida Rama, Head of Directorate for Criminal and Civil Justice, Ministry of Justice.

Mr. Enio Jaco, President of the American Chamber of Commerce

Mrs. Klotilda Bushka – Chairwoman of the Legal Affairs Committee

Mrs. Dhurata Cupi – Deputy Chairwoman of the Legal Affairs Committee, Representative of the Opposition

 

Mrs. Aranita Brahaj, Director of the organization Albanian Institute of Science/Open Data Albania

Policy Paper “Public Procurement, Albania through the Lens of European Integration”

The Policy Paper “Public Procurement, Albania through the Lens of European Integration” was drafted by the Albanian Institute of Science AIS / Open Data Albania, during the implementation of C1 – EU – NPA

Project “Improving the Debate on Policies and Accountability to Fulfill Basic Rights”, through the creation of the Cluster 1 Albania Negotiation Platform.

This project is being implemented by four Albanian organizations: the Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance CSDG, the Institute for Political Studies ISP, the Albanian Helsinki Committee AHC and the Albanian Institute of Science AIS, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tirana.

The Policy Paper was presented on February 28th, at a Roundtable with the participation of organizations and institutions ingaged in the european integration and public procurement processes.

You will find enclosed below the following items:

  • Public Procurement “Policy Paper through the lens of European Integration” (PDF link)
  • Summary and Conclusions of the Policy Paper, Procurement “Policy Paper through the lens of European Integration” (PDF Link)
  • Event Agenda of the Policy Paper Presentation (PDF LINK)

Photos from the Event:

Panelistët: Znj. Aranita Brahaj - Drejtore Ekzekutive e AIS/Open Data Albania; Z. Viktor Gumi - Ekspert Juridik, Autori i Dokumentit (AIS); Znj. Jorida Tabaku - Kryetare, Komisioni për Integrimin Evropian, Parlamenti; Z. Eduart Shalsi - Kryetar, Komisioni për Ekonominë dhe Financat, Parlamenti; Znj. Reida Kashta - Drejtore e Përgjithshme, Agjencia e Prokurimit Publik (APP)

Panelists: Mrs. Aranita Brahaj – AIS/Open Data Albania; Mr. Viktor Gumi – Legal Expert AIS, Author of the Paper; Mrs. Jorida Tabaku – Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee for European Integration, Parliament; Mr. Eduart Shalsi – Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee for Economy and Finance, Parliament; Mrs. Reida Kashta – General Director, Public Procurement Agency (PPA)

H.E.Mr. Reinout Vos – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Albania

Mr. Alexis Hupin – Head of the Political and EU integration section EU Delegation

 

Mr. Muharrem Cakaj – Procurement Expert

 

Mrs. Ledia Muço- Policy Officer EU Delegation;

Mrs. Kristina Voko – Director, BIRN Albania

Mr. Neritan Sejamini – Editor-in-Chief of Exit.al and Director of the EuroNews Albania Information Department;

Mrs. Valia Pentarvani – First Counsellor & DHoM of the Embassy of Greece to Albania; Mr. Alexis Hupin – Head of the Political and EU integration section EU Delegation; H.E.Mr. Reinout Vos – Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Albania;

Mrs. Krisela Hackaj – Expert and Executive Director of CDI Albania

 

The findings, Opinions or Recommendations expressed at this event represent the views of experts and the AIS organization and do not necessarily reflect the responsibilities of the partners or supporters of the C1-EU-NPA

Project.

The document has been forwarded in the Official Form to the institutions engaged in the process and interested parties.

AIS/Open Data Albania is a local non-governmental organization established in 2011. The organization has created a database with open data on Public Procurement in the Health sectors; Concessions; Local Government; Road Infrastructure; Publicly Owned Enterprises; Development Fund. The organization also applies RedFlag real-time risk assessment instruments and is the author of several case studies on Public Procurement and Contracting issues.

 

Corruption Risk in Albania Public Procurement (2017 – 2019) – a Document prepared by Heritie School of Governance and the Albanian Institute of Sciences AIS, May 2021.

The OSCE Presence in Albania commissioned the Hertie School of Governance and the Albanian Institute of Science, to research corruption risk in public procurement in two relevant sectors and to propose improvements to the legal and administrative framework for its reduction.

Please find HERE an Executive Summary of the research document.

AIS Recommendations for interventions related to the Public Procurement Sector

AIS has carried out several activities under the Improvement of the Integrity of Public Contractors Project, aiming at creating an impact through two components of the project: i. strengthening civic actors, media, and non-governmental organisations ii. Public pressure for improving Public Procurement legislation and practice in the country

Regarding the second component, AIS became officially part of the working table with the Albanian Government in drafting the new Public Procurement Law. Our organization presented its findings and proposals regarding problems of legislation on public procurement, and mainly the integrity of public contractors at this working table (government; agencies; parliament; international assistance bodies). Also, AIS has proposed that the Government should develop a public procurement strategy, and is already working on proposing the priorities that such strategy should have, such as improved digitalisation of e-Procurement and the practices of scanning competitors through short listing in the process of public procurement.

Please find some of AIS Recommendations for interventions related to the public procurement sector Here.

Case Study – Public Procurement Big Contracting

Another activity of our project Improve Integrity of Public Contractors was the preparation of two case studies for two large public contracts and procurements. The objects of the first one is the Concessionary Agreement for the financing, design, renovation, supply, reorganization and functioning of the PPP concessionary for providing laboratory services to hospitals, regional and municipal ones. The second case study refers to the procedure for Buying uniforms for the State Police for several years.

The first procedure is a procedure conducted in 2017 and finalized with a contract being awarded only in 2019. The selection was done through an open tender and a consortium of several companies was selected as the winner, [1]with these companies established a concessionary company later[2]. The procedure was followed by wide debate about the selection of the winning operator, as one of the companies of the winning consortium was registered in a country under the shell regime. The local authorities did not demonstrate any efforts to make any verifications of the integrity of this company or to check for potential conflicts of interest of its owner(s).

The case study developed as part of the project identified some wrong procedures that had already been opposed by the Government-contracted Consultant. Upon review of this case study, it was found that:

1) The Contracting Authority – the Ministry of Health, did not meet one of the essential conditions provided by the Law and Regulations on concessions/PPPs, namely: The legal obligation of comparing the PPP Model with the Public procurement to prove the cost effectiveness of the PPP project compared to the Public procurement, which would allow for the development of this Project;

2) The Contracting Authority has not published any reference for the financial analysis based on technical, quantitative, or statistical elements for the laboratory services as the basis for calculating the value of the Project in the amount of 13,005,966,000 lekë, without VAT;

3) The Implementation of the Laboratory Project for almost the entire Territory of the Republic of Albania carries an edit risk for the Public party, because in case of failure, this could lead to collapse of the Public laboratory system, which would be a health catastrophe;

4) The Contracting Authority has failed to deliver on its commitment to reduce the social impact of the project.

5) The Winner of the Project is selected in contradiction with the legal framework on concession/PPPs, the criteria published by The Contracting Authority, and without taking into consideration the Opinion of the IFC international expert;

6) The contract does not provide for one of the main insurances for projects of this nature, such as “Insurance of Professional Liability”.

Find the Case Study HERE (Albanian) and Here ( English)

The case of central purchases represents the highest value tender held so far by the Central Purchasing Authority. This tender is held on behalf of the State Police Directorate. The procedure selected for contracting in this case is a particular procedure rarely used, given its limits regarding the high monetary values. What is interesting is that this tender is being held at the same time the project is implemented. This case was selected given the problems already evident with the type of procedure followed[3], already excluding interested operators from competing by selecting them through the limited procedure

Find the Case Study – Here ( Albanian)

[1] http://openprocurement.al/sq/hconcession/view/id/6

[2] http://opencorporates.al/sq/nuis/L91923002T

[3] http://openprocurement.al/sq/agency/view/id/344

Akses Info Drejtësi– RAPORT VLERËSIM PËRLEGJISLACIONIN DHE PRAKTIKËN PËR AKSESIN NË DOKUMENTET ZYRTARE TË INSTITUCIONEVE TË REJA TË DREJTËSISË KLGJ-së DHE KLP-së

Duke pasur parasysh rëndësinë e sistemit gjyqësor në aspektin politik dhe institucional, transparenca dhe qasja e tij në reformat e informacionit merr një rëndësi të dorës së parë. Adoptimi nga organet qeverisëse të gjyqësorit të parimeve dhe detyrimeve ligjore për transparencë, mund të ketë një efekt pozitiv në aftësinë e tyre institucionale, duke rritur legjitimitetin e tyre, autoritetin e tyre kundrejt aktorëve të tjerë politikë dhe në marrëdhëniet e tyre me qytetarët.

Paraqitja e një informacioni të plotë i ndihmon qytetarët të njihen me performancën e vërtetë të gjykatave dhe gjyqtarëve, dhe në të njëjtën kohë të krijojnë mundësi për trupën akademike dhe organizmat joqeveritar që të analizojnë sfidat dhe të formulojnë propozime për reforma. institucionet gjyqësore.

Nga ana tjetër, aksesi i plotë në informacion dhe reformat e transparencës janë gjithashtu të rëndësishme pasi ato kontribuojnë në funksionimin e përmirësuar të pushtetit gjyqësor dhe në këtë mënyrë nxisin qeverisjen gjithëpërfshirëse. Për shembull, roli i Gjyqësorit në luftën kundër korrupsionit e pozicionon atë si një lojtar kryesor që mund të ndihmojë në përmirësimin e përdorimit të burimeve publike dhe cilësinë e politikave publike, dhe të ndikojë në mënyrën se si qytetarët perceptojnë institucionet e tyre qeverisë ekzekutive. Në të njëjtën kohë, në vendet në zhvillim, gjykatësit po ndërhyjnë me një frekuencë në rritje për të rregulluar ose zbutur dështimet e organeve të pushtetit ekzekutiv duke përmirësuar aksesin ndaj shëndetit, arsimit, shërbimeve publike dhe të drejtave të strehimit për grupet e cenueshme. Një gjyqësor me një legjitimitet më të madh do të pozicionohet më mirë për të ndërhyrë në këto çështje.

Duhet të merret në konsideratë gjithashtu se Gjyqësori është një aktor kryesor për konsolidimin e Sundimit të Ligjit. Rëndësia e rolit të tij reflektohet në indekse dhe metodologji të ndryshme të hartuara për të vlerësuar cilësinë e institucioneve publike. Duket se në Shqipëri ekziston një ndarje e rëndësishme midis shoqërisë dhe drejtësisë, e cila, midis arsyeve të tjera, shpjegohet me kulturën e fshehtësisë dhe operativitetit që ka karakterizuar degën gjyqësore, mungesën e njohurive të popullatës në lidhje me funksionimin dhe administrimin e drejtësisë, si dhe një ndërhyrje e theksuar nga aktorët politike në punën e gjyqtarëve. Si rezultat, qytetarët kanë një mosbesim në rritje në lidhje me punën e gjyqësorit.

Informacioni që qytetarët marrin për punën e gjykatave dhe organeve të sistemit të drejtësisë vuan nga një deficit i dyfishtë: i cilësisë së dobët dhe — në disa raste — kompleksitet i lartë. Kjo situatë, e cila kontribuon në konsolidimin e hendekut ekzistues midis institucioneve gjyqësore dhe shoqërisë, është shkaktuar nga dy faktorë kryesorë. Nga njëra anë, ekziston një deficit i rëndë në media për sa i përket aftësisë së tyre për të raportuar se çfarë po ndodh në sistemin gjyqësor dhe organet qeverisëse të tij. Në shumë raste, gazetarëve u mungon trajnim adekuat për të mbuluar veprimtarinë e gjykatave dhe për t’i shpjeguar publikut çështjet juridike që ato adresojnë në një mënyrë të kuptueshme dhe të thjeshtë. Nga ana tjetër, gjykatat apo organet qeverisë të sistemit të drejtësisë bëjnë shumë pak përpjekje për të komunikuar çështjet që ato zgjidhin në një mënyrë të përshtatshme.

Përballë kësaj diagnoze, AIS ka ndërmarrë dhe zhvilluar këtë projekt për të adresuar problemin. Edhe nën këtë kontekst, zbatimi i transparencës dhe qasjes në reformat e informacionit nga KLGJ dhe KLP përpiqet të kontribuojë në kthimin e mungesës së besimit të përgjithësuar në institucionet gjyqësore, duke promovuar sa të jetë e mundur një afërsi më të madhe midis qytetarëve dhe sistemit të drejtësisë.

Ju lutem gjeni KËTU raportin e plotë

61 Bashki realizuan 26 084 tendera në mandatin katërvjeçar Korrik 2015 – Korrik 2019, të dhëna të mirëstrukturuara tek Open Procurement Albania

Ndërsa Kryebashkiakët po përfundojnë mandatin në krye të 61 Bashkive, mandat 2015 – 2019 si mandat i parë pas Reformës Administrative dhe Territoriale, publiku ka mundësi të aksesojë historikun e plotë të tenderave për këto 61 Bashki, shoqëritë publike në administrimin e tyre dhe  ndërmarrjet e vartësisë.  Kjo databazë në version të mirë strukturuar informacioni, me të dhëna për çdo tender, me të dhëna që shkarkohen edhe në formatin Open Data dhe me dokumenta të listuara është e mundur të aksesohet në Portalin Open Procurement Albania, kategoria Prokurime Publike Njësi të Qeverisjes Vendore http://prokurimetransparente.al/

Në krye të katër viteve histori tenderimesh nga 61 njësi të qeverisjes vendore, publiku mund të aplikojë filtra kërkimi duke bërë të mundur kërkim dhe listim të tenderave sipas Bashkive, Sipas Llojit të Kontratës apo sipas kompanisë fituese.

Në total deri tani për periudhën Korrik 2015 deri Korrik 2019 janë të afishuara 26 084 tendera të shpallur nga të cilët janë finalizuar me njoftim për shpallje fituesi 19 499 http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list

Ndër këta tendera me vlerë mbi 100 milion lekë janë shpallur vetëm 215, ndër bashkitë që nuk kanë realizuar asnjë tender me vlerë mbi 100 milion lekë janë: Bulqiza, Fushë-Arrëz, Klos, Kolonjë, Kukës, Lezhë, Mallakastër, Mat, Përmet, Poliçan, Pustec dhe Selenicë http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/limit_fond/100%20infinit

Databaza është e ndërtuar dhe funksionon edhe me një algoritëm të markimit me RedFlag për tenderat procedura e të cilave ka risk për parregullsi dhe defekte të garës. Ky sistem markimi ka shënuar 2983 tendera si problematik me potencial për parregullsi të mundshme të konkurrencës në tenderim
http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/index/redflag

Databaza ka informacion edhe për ankande të mbajtura nga Bashkitë si Njësi të qeverisjes vendore. Në katër vite përmes mbi 200 buletineve të Agjencisë së Prokurimeve Publike janë sistemuar dhe publikuar të dhëna për 441 Ankande nga Bashkitë http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/auction/list

Në katër vite, pesë kompanitë që kanë fituar vlerën më të lartë të tenderave nga 61 bashkitë janë:

    1. Fusha shpk me total vlerë kontratash të lidhura prej  4 922 891 411 Lekë http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/corporate_id/J61922018S/

    2. GPG Company shpk me vlerë kontratash 2 005 352 859 Lekë http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/corporate_id/J64324443V

    3. Salillari ka fituar kontrata me vlerë 1 570 604 436 Lekë http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/corporate_id/J62903125G

    4. Alko IMPEX General Contruction
      http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/corporate_id/J62903125G

    5. Vëllezërit Hysa
      http://prokurimetransparente.al/sq/tender/list/corporate_id/K12911201C

Databaza do të vijojë të plotësohet me rezultate të tenderimeve të shpallura në muajt e parë të vitit për të cilat pranimi,  vlerësimi dhe finalizimi i ofertave vijon të bëhet. Gjithashtu listimi i tenderave do të vijojë edhe për mandatin e dytë të punës së bashkive.

 

On the implementation of the Project: Monitoring Conflict of Interest of Donors for the 2017 Electoral Campaign

In the framework of its Monitoring Conflict of Interest of Donors for the 2017 Electoral Campaign Project, AIS has identified the donors of the electoral contestants for the 2017 general elections.

Identification was made taking into consideration their economic interests, benefits from public procurement, and incomes from payments received from the state budget (treasury transactions).

We have also compared the list of identified donors with that of the debtors to the tax authorities to see whether any of these donors owe money to state institutions.

It is a total of 66 private individuals and business companies declared as electoral donors in 2017 according to the financial reports published on the website of the Central Election Commission. This includes only donors, who have donated more than 100 000 lekë[1].

Online financial reporting is a new development for the electoral subjects. They have also been subject to financial auditing by independent certified accountants appointed by the Central Election Commission through a lot procedure. Significant differences are found between the self-declared financial reports, though, and the findings of the auditors[2]. This is an indication of two issues: a. Problems with the professional capacity of the political party finance officers, b. Fictitious reporting, i.e. data not reflected on the parties’ online financial reporting are found by the auditors during and after the electoral campaign.

 

Discrete Cases: Among the 66 identified donors, there are two in particular, who seem to be in a conflict of interest referring to Article 89 of the Electoral Code.

 

The Code provides that: Legal persons and any shareholder thereof shall not be allowed to donate funds if they meet in any of the following conditions: a) has benefitted public funds, public contracts, or concessions over the two last years by the amount of more than 10 million lekë; b) exercise an activity in the area of media; c) has been a partner in public funds in various projects; ç) has outstanding monetary debts to the state budget or any public institution. This obligation shall not apply when a shareholder owns his shares as a result of a public offer.

 

The law, however, does not provide for certain conflicts of interest regarding public funds, assets, or services. This includes donors, who have benefitted from programs of public subsidies, loans guaranteed by public funds, privatization of public assets, legalization, or public programs for business support.

 

In order to identify cases of conflicts of interest already foreseen by the law (Article 89, point 2 of the Electoral Code), the following steps, we took the following steps:

  • Identified business companies owned by individual donors (donor being the owner and shareholder at the same time). Source of information: National Business Center.
  • Checked whether these individual donors had benefitted from public contracts through public procurement. Source of verification: Open Procurement Albania Database and the website of the Public Procurement Agency.
  • Checked whether these donors are in the list of tax debtors. The list is publicly available online on the website of the General Tax Directorate.
  • Checked whether these donors have been partners in, or direct beneficiaries of, public funds. For that, we consulted the payments made by the state treasury. We only searched for direct beneficiaries, and not for co-contractors, where it is only the leading beneficiary, and not all the beneficiaries reflected as receivers of state money.

 

Difficulties and challenges with the verification process:

  • Information about donors owing money to public institutions. The list of tax debtors is the only source of verification available for this kind of information. There are no data about other forms of debts to the state, like contractual damages or outstanding payments of extra fees, which are not reflected on the list of taxes collected by the General Tax Directorate.
  • The information available about public tenders or treasure transactions refers only to the leading contractor in case of joint tenders (two or more business companies awarded a public contract). Therefore, even though not on the list of beneficiaries, co-contractors in this case still benefit under the name of the leading contractor.
  • The definition for ‘shareholder’ in the law leaves room for interpreting whether provisions on the conflicts of interest refer also to the company partners. Shareholders in our verification process include anyone, who owns a part of the capital of a legal and economic entity.

 

Our verification of direct donors includes:

  • 66 monetary or ‘in kind’ donors declared by the political parties on their online financial reports on the website of the Central Election Commission.
  • 64 individual donors and 2 legal persons (“K&H Law Firm shpk” as an ‘in kind’ donor of People’s Alliance for Justice Party and “Linda 80 shpk” as an ‘in kind’ donor of the Albanian Demo-Christian Union Party).
  • The legal person registered as “Linda 80 shpk” seems to be in a conflict of interest if we refer to Article 89, point 3(a) of the electoral law. There is no information whether this company has signed a declaration for preventing conflict of interest. The company is public tenders and contracts above the foreseen value over the last two years. Its passport[3] is awarded the following tenders with municipalities and the health sector: a total of 17 contracts with local government authorities, including 2 municipalities and 12 contracting authorities in the amount of 81 400 902 lekë (eighty one million four hundred thousand and nine hundred and two) Albanian Lekë; 5 contracts in the health sector with two contracting authorities in a total amount of 5 324 516 (five million three hundred twenty four thousand and five hundred and sixteen) Albanian Lekë. Our verification with the state treasury transactions show that the company is paid a total of 144 460 120 (one hundred forty for million four hundred sixty and one hundred twenty) Albanian Lekë for two years (June 2015 – June 2017). This company may, therefore, not be a donor in elections. It is worth noting that the information provided in the financial auditors’ reports by the independent certified accountants do not include any assessment of compliance with Article 89, point 3 of the electoral law. Such reports do not mention whether any declarations on conflicts of interest was signed by the donors, which is an obligation both for the donors and the political parties receiving donations. Auditors do provide, though, data on the ‘in kind’ donors on Table 2 “Incomes” of the report, confirming declarations made by the political parties themselves on their online financial reports.
  • The other company, K&H Law Firm shpk, does not seem to have received any payments from public funds, public contracts, or owe any money to the tax authorities.
  • None of the companies is on the list of tax debtors of the General Tax Directorate.

Verification of the individual donors registered as legal persons.

  • Out of the 64 individual donors (who have donated more than 100 thousand lekë) of the political parties in elections, 64 seem to be associated with 42 entities registered by a tax number.
  • Verifying whether a private individual corresponds with that of a donor on the list of donors was difficult, because the National Business center provides only a partial identification of entities registered by a tax number (number of passport or identity card).
  • However, individual donors registered with the tax authorities (by the same name and surname) did not seem to have benefitted from tenders or payments from the state treasury, so there was no need for any further investigations.
  • Regarding debts to the public institutions, one of the donors, E.S, is a shareholder (by 5% of the shares) in Royal Farma, a company registered by Tax Number  L01606005J, and a debtor in the March 2018 List of Debtors of the General Tax Directorate since 2014. Source of information: List of taxpayers with a mortgage burden as a guarantee for their outstanding taxes. The individual donor, therefore, falls under the prohibition provision of Article 89, point 3 of the electoral law.

 

Donations from media companies: Monitoring conflicts of interest as per Article 89, letter b, turned out to be a sensitive process following the legal amendments made prior to the 2017 electoral campaign, allowing for free air time. Such legal provision falls contrary to Article 89, point 3/b of the electoral law, which prohibits entities exercising activities in the area of media from donating funds for electoral purposes. Thus, several political parties have declared donations consisting of free airtime.

Airtime for electoral purposes is sometimes reported as a donation, sometimes as a bill to be paid.

Nevertheless, the funding of electoral subjects by media entities must be carefully seen from the perspective of legal amendments expected to be made.

Public officials as donors of electoral subject. The list of donors includes many high-ranking public officials, including the current President of the Republic, who was just voted as President at them time, but not yet under oath.

AIS has also prepared some draft amendments for more efficient regulation by the Electoral Code regarding transparency and monitoring of the conflict of interest of donors of the electoral subjects.

 

Some of our conclusions for a more efficient regulation by the electoral law include:

  1. Information in real time on donations for electoral purposes (monetary donations). This regulation is based on Article 9, paragraph 3 of the Constitution, which provides that “The financial sources of the political parties, as well as their expenditures, shall always be made public”. Such regulation has already been in the Electoral Code, but it was removed with the amendments made to Article 90, paragraph 1, which provided that: The list of persons who donate no less than 100 thousand lekë, and the corresponding amounts, shall always be made public. However, the changes made by Law No. 74, dated 19.07.2012, this sentence was removed, marking thus regress with the right to information about the supporters of a political party through donations even before the election day.
  2. The law must clearly prohibit any donation, subsidy, or loan relation between the electoral subjects and the media entities. The article on conflict of interest, i.e. Article 89 of the Electoral Code, excludes entities, which exercise media activities, or are shareholders in such entities, from being donors of electoral subjects. This is in line with the principle pf the independence of the media and separation of the two powers. Article 84, paragraph 6 of the Electoral Code, on the other hand, introduces an additional financial source for the important political parties. Media is thus obliged by law to donate airtime to the political parties, which have already used a certain part of paid advertising. This article must be abrogated, because: 1. it creates donation relations that fall contrary to the provisions under Article 98; 2. creates difficulties for monitoring; 3. is arbitrarily used even in local elections, even though it must only apply to the general elections; 4. It’s not a situation where political parties have problems paying for advertising. Political advertising has become quite massive in election media coverage and, ideally, all subjects must be rather focusing more on the quality, instead of the quantity of their message and advertising.

It is also the time, where media, including audio-visual media, is not limited to licensed national media only. There is a variety of audio-visual coverage nowadays base on the new technology.

The regulation of free advertising made through changes to the Law on Political parties in May 2017 is equally wrong and contradictory to the current Electoral Code.

The new Electoral Code shall have to be exhaustive in prohibiting donations by media to electoral subjects. Media entities must be only allowed to enter commercial agreements with electoral subjects, which should, ideally, be accessible to the public if such agreements are related with elections. Outstanding bills and taxes must also be carefully seen. Commercial entities do certainly have the right to claim payment of the invoices they have issued. However, when the debtor is a political party in power, this could be intimidating. In order to prevent situations, where debts are turned into donations, the electoral law must also enable the Central Election Commission to intervene when distributing the annual or electoral fund to the parties, giving priority to outstanding and recognized obligations during electoral campaigns. The same priority should also apply to public funds when such funds are allocated to parties to owe money to non-media entities.

  1. More effective regulation of cases foreseen as donors’ conflicts of interest. Legal provisions must be expanded to also include prevention, declaration, and conflict of interest for donors. Article 89 of the Electoral Code does include some prohibitions. This article also needs to be better regulated and expanded. Thus, the word ‘shareholder’ should be rather replaced by the word ‘owner’. In addition to public contracts and public funds, benefits from programs of public subsidies must also be foreseen as conflict of interest, as well as loans guaranteed by public funds, benefits from privatization of public assets, benefits from legalization; benefits from public programs supporting business, etc.
  2. Introduction of a legal provision on administrative verification of cases of conflict of interest. It would be useful to give the CEC the authority to make administrative verifications and investigation. This could be done through requests for information addressed to public institutions on compliance with the legal provisions on conflicts of interest. This could include verification with the tax authorities about tax debtors, Public Procurement Agency about public contracts, Concessionary Register about concessionary contracts, and so on. Sanctions on false declarations on conflict of interest could also be introduced in the Electoral Code.

 

[1] http://open.data.al/sq/lajme/lajm/id/2011/Lista-e-Donatoreve-per-fushaten-zgjedhore-2017-shume-mbi-100-mije-leke

[2] http://financial.cec.org.al/

[3] http://www.opencorporates.al/sq/nipt/k37513530u

E Drejta e Informimit mbi Financimin e Subjekteve Zgjedhore

FINANCIMI I PARTIVE POLITIKE DHE KANDIDATËVE NË SHQIPËRI: VËSHTRIM I PËRGJITHSHËM

Viktor GUMI

Ekspert Ligjor

Financimi i partive politike në Shqipëri rregullohet përmes këtyre dispozitave ligjore:

  1. a) Neni 9, paragrafi 3 në Kushtetutën e Shqipërisë citon se “Burimet financiare të partive, si dhe shpenzimet e tyre bëhen kurdoherë publike”.
  2. b) Financimi i aktivitetit vjetor të partive politike rregullohet me ligjin nr. 8580 datë 17.2.2000 “Për Partitë Politike”, të ndryshuar. Dispozitat e tij rregullojnë financimin e partivepolitike nga burimet financiare e materiale, publike e private, të cilat nuk përfshihen në Kodin Zgjedhor. Ligji përcakton kompetencat e kontrollit të financave nga KQZ, rregullat e auditimit dhe përgatitjes së raporteve të rregullta financiare, sanksione për shkeljet dhe mos deklarimin e dhuruesve apo shumave të dhurimit.

 

E DREJTA E INFORMIMIT MBI FINANCIMIN E SUBJEKTEVE ZGJEDHORE

Olta BEGU

Analiste / Open Data Albania

Subjektet Elektorale kanë detyrim ligjorë të paraqesin informacion, dokumente apo të dhëna që kanë të bëjnë më financimin dhe shpenzimet e fushatës zgjedhore sipas Ligjit Zgjedhor. Tabelat financiare të fushatës përmbajë shpenzime dhe të ardhura të krijuara në datat që përkojnë më fushatën zgjedhore (sipas parashikimeve në Kod) qëllim zgjedhor dhe që kanë financiare mbi të ardhura dhe shpenzime gjatë fushatës zgjedhore.

Modulet e Trajnimit si më poshtë:

FINANCIMI I PARTIVE POLITIKE,

TË DHËNA TË HAPURA PËR FINANCIME ZGJEDHORE OPEN DATA ALBANIA