Albanian army involved in drug trafficking?

Albanian army involved in drug trafficking?

IBNA Special Report/IBNA’s report hears from minister of Defense, Mimi Kodheli, former minister of Defense and democrat MP, Arben Imami, leader of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, ministry of Defense official, Edlira Prendi, MPs Aldo Bumci and Flamur Noka…

By Edison Kurani

A big debate has been triggered in Albania, following the accusation of the opposition that the army is involved in the traffic of narcotic substances. This accusation came for the first time by the former minister of Defense and democrat MP, Arben Imami.

“There’s one thing that can move us away from NATO and this thing is what’s happening today. The military infrastructure of a NATO army is being regularly used for the infrastructure of the transport of narcotic substances”, says Imami. He also demands from Kodheli to explain on this accusation.

Minister of Defense, Mimi Kodheli didn’t respond to this accountability “invitation”. Nevertheless, she said that she’s determined for this strong accusation not to go by easily.

Kodheli has addressed a letter to the General Attorney, Adriatik Llalla to launch an inquiry over Imami’s accusations.

“In the quality of the minister of Defense, based on the Constitution and laws of the country, I demanded to the General Attorney to launch inquiries on these serious accusations against Armed Forces”, said Kodheli.

Edlira Prendi from the Ministry of Defense says that this ministry will collaborate at any moment with the Prosecution in order to offer all the required materials and necessary assistance that this institution will demand in relation to the inquiry.

Meanwhile, the General Attorney’s Office doesn’t yet have an official stance, but sources within it say that they’re gathering facts over the claims of the opposition.

Democrat MP, Aldo Bumci says that the Democratic Party is requesting to the Ministry of Defense to explain over the “involvement of the army in the drag trafficking”.

“We call on the minister of Defense not to hide behind media declarations, but to show transparency over the responsibility of the institution that she leads in relation to international drug trafficking by using the infrastructure of armed forces”, says former minister of Justice, Aldo Bumci.

Democratic Party says that it’s very worried about this and the damage being caused to the reputation of the country in the eyes of our Euro Atlantic allies.

This party has publicly addressed three questions to Kodheli, stressing that the answers to these questions would benefit public interest, transparency, armed forces and the Albanian state:

“1-Are you aware of the concern for a possible use of the infrastructure of the armed forces in the drug traffic?

2-Do you have information as to how this important state structure, part of NATO, has been used in the drug traffic?

3-What measures have you taken about these serious events?”.

These questions have received on Monday an indirect response, when Mrs. Kodheli addressed a letter to General Attorney, Adriatik Llalla.

The letter, which IBNA possesses in full, demands from the General Attorney to publicly declare if an inquiry has been launched about the accusations of the opposition.

“In the past few days, democrat MPs have launched serious accusations against Armed Forces. With this letter, I would like to reiterate my concern in relation to these accusations, which require Armed Forces to serve for anti-government propaganda”, says Kodheli.

She also requests: “Mr. General Attorney, I would like to know if you have launched an inquiry, based on the request of the Ministry of Defense dating 11.04.2014 in relation to these accusations and if not, I’d like to reiterate the necessity of the launch of such inquiry”.

Kodheli also requests “a detailed deliberation of all the files that the Ministry of Defense has deposited to the prosecution”. “I’m convinced that their deliberation will relieve Armed Forces from the burden of a damaging past in their management and the danger that they may be misused again in the future”, says Mrs. Kodheli.

The Democratic Party declared on Monday that it has decided to denounce at the Security Committee facts which according to it, involve the army in the drug traffic.

Democrat MP, Flamur Noka confirms the fact that he has filed a request for a hearing, in order to shed light upon what he calls “the most outrageous scandal of our Armed Forces”.

“The involvement of our army in the traffic of drugs is the biggest damage made to the image of Albania, it’s the destruction of the role and responsibilities  that we have as a NATO member country. Minister of Defense must explain these shocking information and her responsibility and the prime minister’s in this affair that turns Albania, from a NATO member country, to a failed drug traffic republic”, says Mr. Noka.

Former minister of Interior didn’t want to offer details over the accusation addressed against the army with concrete facts. The opposition claims that these are sensitive facts which must only be issued to the respective institutions.

The leader of DP, Lulzim Basha says that “Albanian army is involved in the drug traffic”, adding that: “It’s an extremely serious matter. DP has secured facts and arguments. In the framework of this accusation, I have authorized our MPs in the Security Committee to secure new facts. This is a serious matter. We’re taking all necessary measures to deal with this issue in the institutional framework. We’re launching institutional steps in shedding light upon this issue”.

Suspicion, a military base used for drug trafficking

Residents of the “Karavasta e Re” village in the coast of Durres have made a public denouncement in the past few days, saying that small planes are filled with narcotic substance and carry out flights from the military base of Bedat in the Adriatic. /ibna/