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.

Access to Information on Justice, and the integrity and promotion of individuals in the justice system

Data and documents on the justice system after the Reform. Additional access to information on the new justice institutions and individuals being promoted to the system. The new Access to Justice Info database aims at enhancing the integrity of processes and institutions through a data mine and information made available to the public and journalists. All laws, decisions, acts, strategies, reports and conclusions of external monitoring conclusions are published according to the institutions of aksesdrejtesi.al. Similarly, the website contains also a profile for every prosecutor , judge or member of the new justice institutions. The profile aims to provide easy to find documents on the education, professional experience, qualifications, promotion, vetting, self-declarations, and any other documents linked to new individuals in the system. This site is a data mine, which enables also a summary of media articles on the reform.

Open Contracting for Tenders by Albanian Road Authority – Transparency and Risk Assessment of Abuse

Tenders and Contracts awarded by the Albanian Road Authority are now accessible by Open Contracting standards. Following tenders for municipalities, public-owned business companies, health, the Albanian Road Fund and Central Purchasing Agency, the non-profit organization AIS is also ensuring transparency over tender stages and contracts awarded by this key contractor authority in the country. The Albanian Road Authority is the central institution planning contracts for national road infrastructure. The database and the algorithm for corruption risk show that 40 out of 100 tenders 40 are marked by a redflag indicating potential for inequality in the race. Open Contracting – The Albanian Road Authority is one of the activities of the “Improvement of the Integrity of Public Contractors” Project , supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Tirana, Mrs. Guusje Korthals Altes, was also present at the presentation of the database to a group of investigative journalists.

Participants in the Event:

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  • 31 Participants
  • 21 Journalists
  • 24 women and 7 men
  • 10 Audio Visual Media Journalists
  • 8 Print Media Journalists
  • 3 MFE Press Office Journalists

Agenda : Here

#AKSESDREJTESI – ACCESS TO JUSTICE, PROFILES OF SPECIAL PROSECUTORS

AIS, an organization promoting Open Data Albania invites you to access information through our new database entitled access to Justice Info http://aksesdrejtesi.al/. What are the professional profiles of the senior SPAK prosecutors (special anticorruption structure), CVs and their career, level of education, experience with the justice institutions, documents submitted in the application process, decision-making of the qualification institutions and their promotion. All the profiles of the eight special prosecutors are now available on the new website Access to Justice

Altin Dumani http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/38

Behar Dibra http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/70

Edvin Kondili http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/71

Ened Nakuci http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/72

Elida Kackini http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/39

Klodjan Braho http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/116

Enkeleda Millonai http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/73

Arben Kraja http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/25

The Access to Justice Information database contains now data and documents on institutions and individuals promoted under the new justice reform. The data provide information on laws, decisions, reports, decision-making acts, and performance of the system. In addition to institutions, individual passports of accessible information are also created both for judges and prosecutors remaining after the vetting process, as well as for individuals appointed and promoted to the new justice institutions.  The website has just introduced also data for the wealth of the members of the High Council of Justice.

Information on the work of the Justice System institutions are accessible on Justice Info http://aksesdrejtesi.al/institucions

The database contains also data about other individuals promoted to institutions and the justice system. http://aksesdrejtesi.al/persons/3

Money and Power, Integrity and Wealth of Member of the High Judicial Council

The Access to Justice Information database contains now data and documents on institutions and individuals promoted under the new Justice Reform. The data provide information on laws, decisions, reports, decision-making acts, and performance of the system. In addition to institutions, individual passports of accessible information are also created both for judges and prosecutors remaining after the vetting process, as well as for individuals appointed and promoted to the new justice institutions.  The website has just introduced also data for the wealth of the members of the High Council of Justice. The data are obtained based on the right of access to information about the declarations made to the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Control of Assets. The asset declaration data provide information about the interests and economic power of office holders and related persons. On the link below, you may access information on:

  1. Naureda LLAGAMI http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/104
  2. Maksim COKU http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/105
  3. Fatmira LULI http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/106
  4. Medi BICI  http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/80
  5. Brunilda KADI http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/94
  6. Brikena UKPERAJ http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/97
  7. Erjon MUHARREMAJ http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/107
  8. Marcela SHEHU http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/99
  9. Albana TORO http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/108
  10. Dritan HALLUNAJ http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/95
  11. Ilir TOSKAJ http://aksesdrejtesi.al/profil/98

The High Judicial Council is a constitutional institution, established by Constitution after changes made in 2016 as part of the legal package for justice reform. This institution is created to ensure the independence, accountability and smooth operation of the judicial power in the Republic of Albania. The Council is composed of eleven members, six of whom are elected by judges of all levels of judicial power, while five members are elected by the Assembly among non-judge legal professionals. The High Judicial Council exercises the function of appointment, evaluation, promotion, and transfer of judges at all levels. Also, this Council imposes disciplinary measures against judges. The Council leads and takes care of the work of the court administration, except for the maintenance of the Information Technology structures in courts, which is regulated by a special decision of the Council of Ministers. The Council proposes and manages its budget and that of the courts, and informs the public and the Assembly of the state of the judicial system.

Information on the work of this institution can be accessed through Access to Justice info  http://aksesdrejtesi.al/list/1

The database includes also data about other people promoted to institutions and the justice system.  http://aksesdrejtesi.al/persons/3

Albanian Civic Society against the government’s proposed changes to the medial law

The Assembly of Albania is expected to vote on two laws known as the Anti-Defamation Law, a legal initiative of Rama’s Government, at its plenary session on Wednesday. The Civil Society and Representatives of the Albanian Media have called for a protest in front of the Assembly on December 18th, at 09:30. #MOSnaPREKfjalën is the slogan of this protest (banner attached).
We, a group of 15 journalists’ organizations and civil society organisations, have repeatedly asked the Government, since December 2018, through our public statements, to abandon its two draft laws presented as the Anti-Defamation package, listing all of our arguments.
Also, following the submission of these two bills to the Albanian Assembly, we call on the Assembly ti immediately reject these two draft laws, if the government does not withdraw them. These two draft laws threaten freedom of expression and freedom of the media in the country, and fall contrary to the international principles set out in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of the US Convention on Human Rights, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, etc.
The organisations find that the two draft laws, part of the Anti-Defamation package, award almost judicial powers of a sanction nature to AMA and the Authority for Electronic and Postal Communication against media operators,while these bodies, although independent by law, do not provide functional guarantees to be effectively independent, as are bodies of judicial power.
Albania has enough laws to regulate issues arising from media violating the rights of others and any other interference, and there have already been several precedents adjudicated in our judicial system in this regard.
The need for media self-regulation and no legal regulation takes particular importance in those countries of democracy in transition, such as our country, where media is often linked to business and political interests. Self-regulation is a combination of standards stipulating the relevant code of conduct for the media, which are needed to support freedom of expression and enable this conduct to be monitored and held accountable. Self-regulation preserves media independence and protects it from partisan government interventions.
The organizations calls on the Government of Albania and the Albanian Parliament to take into account all of the repeated objections of the international institutions (such as OSCE, EU, Council of Europe and the United Nations), the presence of which contributes to our country and to the rule of law, human rights, and to express themselves clearly and publicly on the draft laws in question, as efforts to violate freedom of expression.
Also, this call of the local organizations has also been supported in the last couple of days, by different international organizations, the most important ones in addressing the issues related to freedom of media and expression, as well as by the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ (with over 600 thousand members from 140 countries of the world), and the Federation of European Journalists EFJ (with about 320 thousand members from 45 countries)
joint statement attached.
List of signatory organizations:
· BIRN Albania
· Civil Rights Defenders
· Citizens Channel
· Faktoje
· Albanian Media Institute
· Albanian Institute of Science promotor of Data Albania
· Albanian Media Council
· Albanian Helsinki Committee
· Union of Albanian Journalists
· New Media Network
· Res Publica Centre
· Albanian MediaLook Centre
· Albanian Centre for Quality Journalism
· Association of Professional Journalists of Albania
· Union of Albanian Journalists

Information Memo on the State of Schools, where the project is being implemented, in Kurbin and Lezha Municipalities, following the earthquake of 26 November 2019

The “Open ICT Education for Youth Employability” Project, Grant Contract no. 2017/394-533 , implemented by ODK and AIS, scheduled to last from 15 January 2018 until 15 February 2020, targets beneficiaries/educational institutions from Kosovo and Albania. More specifically, high schools from Kurbin and Lezha Municipalities are among the targeted beneficiaries.
Following, you may find some information about the damages caused to the project beneficiary schools by the natural disaster, namely the earthquake of 26 November 2019 in this Memo HERE.

The company “Fusha shpk” is awarded a contract for Segment II of Vlora Pedestrian Boulevared, i.e. the segment down to the Tunnel

The company “Fusha shpk” is also awarded another contract for the remaining segment of Vlora Pedestrian Boulevard. The winner is announced last week, while the competition by the Albanian Development Fund was announced in August 2019. The value of the winning bid is 385 173 305 leks. 6 Albanian companies participated in the tender, and the procedure is marked by the Transparent Procurement Sustem by a red flag, finding 3 bidders of lower bids were disqualified.  Check out its passport http://openprocurement.al/sq/albaniandf/view/id/241

Fusha shpk has also won other tenders for reconstruction of bouleevards and pedetsrian sites announced by the Albanian Development Fund:

  1. Remaining part of Vlora Pedestrian Street
  2. Naim Frasheri Pedestrian Street Saranda
  3. Vlora Boulevard reconstruction
  4. Construction of Mac Albania Pedestrian Street in Golem Kavaje
  5. Rehabilitation of green road sides and exit/entry points to inhabited centres on Levan-Kakavija segment
  6. The construction of Saranda Pedestrian Street.

The passport of this company is updated on Open Corporation Albania http://www.opencorporates.al/sq/nipt/j61922018s

The list of contracts list signed with the Albanian Development Fund is published under Open Procurement Albania http://openprocurement.al/sq/albaniandf/list/corporate_id/J61922018S

Asset Declarations of MPs elected in 2019

The Spending Data Albania database, its Money and Power Section is updated with asset decalrations for the MPs elected in 2019. The data has been taken from the official statements made to the High Inspectorate for Declaration of Assets and Control of Conflict of Interest by applying for access to information. They are processed by reformatting their content by better structured categories. This provides easy access to data on real estate, cars, valuable items, liquidity, balance, loans and debts, and incomes from labour, business, third-party payables, heritage, donations, or subsidies. Such categorisation reflects also expected assets related to orders, enterprises, and investment. Those requires to declare their assets are supposed to declare both their personal and family assets. The MPs who received their mandate in 2019 and their assets are as follows:

  1. Andi Permeti http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1069
  2. Alban Zeneli http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/124
  3. Adriatik Alimadhi http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1067
  4. Arben Elezi http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1070
  5. Arlind Cacani http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1071
  6. Amina Cela (Borova) http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48/off_id/1068
  7. Elda Hoti http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1077
  8. Edola Braha http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1074
  9. Fationa Dhimitri http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1081
  10. Halil Jakimi http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1082
  11. Enada Kapllani http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1078
  12. Ylli Shehu http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/204
  13. Eugen Bojaxhiu http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1080
  14. Maljlinda Halilaj http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48/off_id/1085
  15. Ralf Gjoni http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48/off_id/1088
  16. Enver Roshi http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48/off_id/1079
  17. Edlira Hyseni http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1075
  18. Nikolin Staka http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1086
  19. Korab Lita http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48/off_id/1083
  20. Nimet Musaj http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1087
  21. Ligoraq Karamelo http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1084
  22. Zef Shtjefni http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/view/id/1089

You may find other declarations of MPs who have held mandates in the current legislature in the Spendingh Data Albania database, under the Money and Power section, MPs Legislature IX category http://spending.data.al/sq/moneypower/list/pos_id/48