Albanian opposition presses charges against the prime minister for three criminal offenses

Albanian opposition presses charges against the prime minister for three criminal offenses

Tirana, 4 July 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

In Albania, the opposition is trying to launch a legal battle against the prime minister, by pressing charges against him for three criminal offenses.

The Democratic Party has pressed criminal charges against PM Edi Rama for exerting unlawful influence, concealing and laundering money

DP’s accusations follows the FBI probe in relation to the federal crime of introducing 80 thousand USD from an external source in the 2012 campaign of the current President Barack Obama.

The opposition says that it has been proven that Edi Rama is the external source, which according to it, paid 80 thousand USD in 2012 to arrange a meeting and a photo with President Obama.

The democrat MP, Eduard Halimi offers more details for IBNA’s readers in relation to the criminal charges pressed against the prime minister, charges which were filed at the prosecution’s office. “Rama has consumed three criminal charges, that of fraud, hiding and laundering money, by exerting unlawful influence and by directly benefiting from this unlawful influence.  The facts that were made public by US law enforcement agencies, clearly show that 80 thousand USD have been paid from Albania, by very suspicious sources, undeclared by the prime minister with one purpose: to arrange a meeting and have a photo shot with the US president, Barack Obama in 2012, when Mr. Rama was leader of the Albanian opposition”, says the minister of Justice.

According to him, these facts meet all the criteria of criminal offenses included in the Albanian legislation.

“Now, time has come for the Prosecution to summon the Albanian Prime Minister and hold him accountable, as it was done in Romania in the case of Victor Ponte”, Halimi said.

Halimi said that “the prime minister is obliged to answer to the questions addressed by the opposition, by the public, but also by international media on the suspicious funding and the use of dirty money, for as long as they come from a suspicious source, are dirty money in an electoral campaign and are used to exert unlawful influence”.

The government has taken very seriously this suspicion first raised by US media. It has repeatedly issued declarations and it did this once again on Monday afternoon (04.07), adding to the explanation criticism against the current opposition about the time when it was in power.

“Prime Minister Rama has no links whatsoever with unlawful funding and the only “crime” he has committed in 2012 is that he has had a photo with the US President, at a time when the Albanian government and its leader had their doors closed and Albania’s international relations were suffering the ruining of the image of our country due to bad governance”.

According to the government, “DP’s charges in relation to the 2012 photo with President Obama, when the current PM was in opposition and the accusation for unlawful funding by him of President Obama’s campaign, is another case where the citizens can see how desperate the opposition is”.

Meanwhile, PM Edi Rama publicly called on the Democratic Party to seriously deal with the reform in justice and not the recent incentive, which relates to three accusations against him. He also addresses three provoking questions to the democrats: Why does the DP fear the reform in justice?

Why isn’t the DP willing for political parties to take their hands off the control of the justice system?

What intimidates DP in the involvement of EU-USA in the International Operation for the Monitoring of the Reform in Justice?

For Rama, “these are big question marks for Albania today and not the 2012 photo with the US President”.

“A justice system liberated by the claws of political and financial corruption will also liberate the truth regarding all accusations made by the Democratic Party and the truth of the crimes that have gone unpunished during all these years”, Mr. Rama says, wanting to veer off public attention from the fresh accusations of the DP and focus it on the reform in justice.

But democrats do not back off. On Monday, the DP addressed several other questions to Rama: “Where did Edi Rama find 80 thousand USD at a time that he had declared that he only had 3 thousand euros? Is this 80 thousand USD money coming from bribery or corruption? What was promised to the sponsor in exchange of 80 thousand USD?” /