Four years after the Earthquake of November 26, 2019 and its severe Consequences in human life, housing and infrastructure, AIS finds that the State and the Albanian Government cannot make an inventory of where we are in dealing with its consequences and rehabilitation.
November 2023 There is no Clear Report on:
- the number of families provided with housing through the Reconstruction Program
- Reconstructed public works,
- Families treated with individual grants,
- Progress in reconstruction for these cases or
- completed public works.
Similarly, AIS/Open Data Albania finds that the Budgetary Discipline for the Financing of this Project is a missing process where no planning, granting, contracting, allocation and implementation data are reconciled.
Neither the Government, nor any of the 11 affected Municipalities guarantee a deadline for the Finalization of the Reconstruction Program after the Consequences of the Earthquake.
AIS, an organization also known as Open Data Albania has carefully monitored and raised awareness about issues with this program. In the same way, it has been litigated against the clientelistic law in violation of the constitutional rights, the special law through which Contractual Businesses were designated in the reconstruction.
4 years after the Earthquake and the announcement of the Program, we are sharing with you some findings and evidence on the mismanagement of the Reconstruction Program, specifically:
- on February 17, 2020, the Albanian Government presented at the Donors’ Conference in Brussels held by the European Commission, the need for Aid for the Reconstruction Program after the earthquake with a cost of over 1 billion Euros.
- In this conference, Donors and states, based on financial requests for recovery, promised aid and credit for Albania as a State affected by an Earthquake in the amount of 1.15 billion euros or about 140 billion Lek. See Link
- In the fourth budget year of this program 2023, AIS/Open Data Albania finds that the State Budget has consolidated until March 2023 only 75 billion lek (16.6 billion in 2022; 29.5 billion in 2021; 28.9 billion in 2022, and only 5 billion Lek in 2023).
- The absurdity is that in the meantime, through 11 municipalities and the Albanian Development Fund, the Government has announced Public Procurements and Winners for 856 tenders with a total fund limit of 96.65 billion ALL, where 84.69 billion ALL result from contracts.
- The difference in Reconciliation becomes deeper by analyzing that apart from Public Procurement, the Reconstruction Program has distributed 11.5 billion ALL in individual grants.
- Individual Grant plus Public Procurement require about 108.15 billion, while the State Budget without detailing the works and objects of this Program gives only 75 billion. Another 7 billion is planned for 2024. A difference still remains and none of the Ministers of Finance who have exercised their duties in this period have made explanations in Parliament for such Budgetary Discrepancies. Link
- Corrupt Reconstruction Law. AIS has previously asked the Constitutional Court to annul the Normative Act of December 2019 through which the Government decided to make a non-detailed Budget of Investments and Contracts for the Reconstruction program. The law created different procedures from the Public Procurement Legislation and established contracts with Limited Procedures, shortened deadlines and table bidding (outside the electronic tendering system). For AIS, this law limits economic freedoms as constitutional freedoms and makes the process clientelistic.
- The lawsuit in the Constitutional Court, prepared by AIS, was joined by 28 Opposition MPs, but the Constitutional Court in the period 2021-2022 did not function with a full judicial body. Out of 7 judges, 4 Voted for the repeal of the Corrupt Law. At least 5 judges need to agree for the law to be repealed by the Constitutional Court. Read more Constitutional Control over Corrupt Laws, Vacancies of several years in the Constitutional Court bring Serious Consequences for the Prevention of Corruption by Law – Albanian Institute of Science (ais.al)
- On the eve of the 2021 elections, Public Procurement was deepened with limited Problematic Procedures and outside the electronic system, where the emphasis was on Contracting for the Reconstruction Program.
- Individual Grants for Reconstruction were given through the State Treasury to Individuals who had minor damage to their Homes. Decision-making for distribution and payments through Treasury Transactions were made prominently on election dates, especially in April 2021. AIS informed the CEC about this Misuse of Public Funds during the electoral period. The administrative investigation of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission and KAS did not clearly refer to the need for investigation and punishment for such cases. Read more
- Analysis of Treasury Payments by Open Data Albania finds that in election months, 40% more payments were made than in ordinary months for Beneficiaries of Individual Grants of the Reconstruction Program.
- Consequences of mismanagement. Concentration of Funds in Few Businesses. 42% of the contracted value was benefited by 30 local entities.
- At the top of the winning businesses are Companies Founded by Political Officials in Power
- Among the contracting companies, they managed to penetrate businesses with problems and owned by people announced as internationally wanted for drug trafficking Link
AIS Open Data Albania expresses concern for the lack of seriousness with the financial transparency of the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Program and the need for a fairer legal regulation for the handling of emergency cases and programs for the implementation of needs after Natural Disasters.