13.07.2021 – 15:23
By Skënder Minxhozi
It was a time in the late 1990s and the beginning of the new millennium, when the OSCE was seen in Albania as a kind of supreme operational directorate for resolving any kind of crisis that arose along the way. And Albania of that time undoubtedly had a mountain of crises of all kinds.
Such a role, on an unrealistic, idyllic scale, and why not even naive (in fact more deceitful than naive), is being assigned today to the new justice and its institutions. We are consuming these months the false fable that every corrupt, every law breaker, every iniquity of all years, since the 1st day of democracy in this country, will be corrected as if by magic by a dozen prosecutors and judges who have started to they are slowly removing the noodles of the crime and corruption of many years in Albania. “Take SPAK”, “Investigate SPAK”, “Put SPAK in prison” – this refrain is in vogue on all floors of the Albanian state and this expectation has affected the popular fantasy of thousands of people who remember that with a drop of a pencil they found the door to solve all troubles.
This alibi is being widely used today to bypass and not resolve many of the legal violations that should normally have been reviewed and punished in other ways by dozens of guarantee institutions, controlling and filtering procedures and laws.
The concrete case, that of the denunciation of Prime Minister Rama for finding irregularities in 70% of tendering procedures in state institutions, marks only the last episode of identifying the problem, but not of hitting it. Rama says that out of 655, out of 936 tendering procedures were found in violation and that the Procurement Agency has made written recommendations for them. In 20 percent of cases, the Prime Minister continues, the relevant institutions have not reacted or reflected on the recommendations. So, they continue to be in office even today, even though the violations have been pointed out to you in writing. At least this is understood by the fact that Rama himself did not provide any information on dismissals, suspensions or other penalties against violators. He simply threatened that in case of non-reflection the persons would be sent to SPAK.
The opposition does the same with its elected representatives, who leave the streets as soon as justice comes into play to be handcuffed.
The state must be able to cleanse itself, because for this it has set up endless regulations and manuals. The scenario where any violation should end up on the SPAK table is simply unrealistic and even absurd. The Prime Minister should have appeared before the Albanians with a list of names whom his government should have penalized according to its legal right, for not reflecting on violations in tenders. There are not only prison sentences handed down by the SPAK, there are also other preliminary penalties, pending that anti-corruption prosecutors uncover violations on a case-by-case basis.
The same was true for the mayors against whom the prime minister again used very harsh language.
The positive climate that the blows of the new justice have begun to create, is being damaged not only by the crowd of pessimists who for years have expressed skepticism about the reform, but also on the other side of the coin, by the expectation that now, with the establishment of new institutions, everything negative will receive their punishment. As with magic, as with the holy spirit.
Not every garbage bag should be thrown in the SPAK yard! Because no matter how big this yard is, it is logistically and humanly impossible for a new institution to put a weight on its back that it cannot support. Building an alibi “to deal with this SPAKU” is a camouflaged pretext that artificially removes the responsibility of any other state filter, in the reaction and crackdown on offenders.
Albania will not be cleansed with the hands of a single institution, no matter how powerful, willing and active he may be in this pharaonic task. Corruption must be concretely punished every day where it occurs first. To wait for SPAK to uncover thousands of files in parallel and to return to a good path a society where corruption is a culture and a way of life, means to postpone the cleansing of the Albanian society in the Greek calendars.