TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENTAIS Newsletter September 2022
Albania’s integration towards the EU, the German press criticizes the Government, AIS sheds light into facts about Corruption and the Rule of Law
The serious German newspaper Dei Welt published this September an article entitled: Corruption, justice and issues with the freedom of press – Is Albania ready for the EU? The article carefully analyses some geopolitical aspects of Albania’s Negotiation process in its path towards the EU, as well as its challenges. Journalist Mandoline Rutkowski also visited our office in Tirana, reflecting our findings on issues such as Corruption, Rule of Law, or the Justice Reform as part of the facts and issues listed in his article. Aranita Brahaj, Director and Founder of AIS declared that “The country is run by a Prime Minister and a Government, subject to no checks, because of the lack of Judicial, Constitutional and Parliamentary oversight, while the Vetting in the Justice system was characterized by good intentions, but poor planning and execution, which left the country without a judiciary and judicial scrutiny for years.
Legalised Corruption and the Malfunctioning of the Constitutional Court: AIS Litigation against Special Legislation on Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Program Contracting
The organization AIS filed, in September 2021, a Lawsuit in the Constitutional Court requesting the partial repeal of the legal provisions regulating the Contracting for the Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Program for being unconstitutional. In January 2022, the lawsuit was supported by 28 opposition MPs. In AIS’ assessment the Law is incompatible with the Constitution as it violates economic freedoms; damages fair competition; and favours corruption and clientelism in the distribution of Contracts to the Governments’ Preferential Clients. The lawsuit was dismissed by the Constitutional Court, which reviewed the case, with only seven members in quorum out of nine required. Normally, a majority of five votes are needed to repeal a law, whereas, in the present case, a majority of four members out of seven did not qualify to produce a proper verdict. To learn more about the litigation, read “The Constitutional Control over Corrupt Laws”. The vacancies created over several years at the Constitutional Court let to serious consequences for the prevention of legalised corruption.
Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty - A draft law that also amnesties foreign tax residents in Albania
The Draft Law and Albanian Governments’ Initiative on Fiscal and Criminal Amnesty has been carefully analysed by experts working with AIS. In the end, two policy documents have been produced, analysing and offering recommendations on aspects of the Monetary Policy, Money Laundering and Issues related to the Harmonization of the Criminal Legislation. AIS pointed out that the draft and the formulated initiative carry a high risk of money obtained through criminal and corrupt means being laundered, as well as endangering the financial systems in the country. Another worrying aspect is the fact that the law will also benefit foreign citizens, who have acquired fiscal residency in our country. The Amnesty does not guarantee equal treatment of taxpayers and harms the business climate. The draft presents a lot of problems in terms of conflicts with the current criminal legislation as well. The two Policy documents and other evidence on this Topic are published on AIS website.