Tirana, 28 October 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Another MP from the Socialist Party may give up her mandate, as her family is involved in a business relating to state concessions. The concessions in question involved Albanian Railways, which is now in the hands of a company owned by the son of the socialist MP.
Based on this, after Ilir Beqja’s case when he was MP and today minister of Health, it’s Valentina Leskaj now who is being urged to hand over her mandate.
The request comes once again from the opposition. If in Beqaj’s case, the DP managed to have him give up his mandate, with the businessman, Koco Kokedhima, it failed.
Now it’s Leskaj’s turn.
The DP submitted in parliament its request to end Mrs. Leskaj’s mandate, who is at the same time deputy speaker of Parliament.
In its request, the opposition summons a meeting of the Committee for Regulation, Mandates and Immunity, to deliberate the matter relating to Mrs. Valentina Leskaj’s mandate. The DP’s request follows the concessionary agreement benefited by the son of the speaker of parliament. Based on this agreement, his company is given the railway linking Ballsh-Fier and Vlora for use for a period of 25 years and according to the law, this is irreconcilable with Mrs. Leskaj’s mandate.
The law forbids MPs and their family members, which includes children of a mature age, to enter contracts or subcontracts with public institutions.
No. 2 of DP, Ristani talks about the railway concession
General Secretary of the Democratic Party, Arben Ristani, declared in a public statement, that the granting of the concession for the railway Ballsh-Fier-Vlora is in breach of the law “For the prevention of the conflict of interests in exerting public duties”.
According to him, the concession granted to the son of the MP, Valentina Leskaj is unlawful, as the law doesn’t permit family members of officials, which include MPs, to enter contracts or subcontracts with public institutions.
Following a check of the concession procedures for the railway segment Fier-Ballsh and Fier-Vlora, it seems that the segments have been granted for a period of 25 years to a temporary merger of “Alb-Star” and “Matrix Construction”. QKR (National Registration Center) data show that “Matrix Construction” company is owned by Arian Leskaj, son of Valentina Leskaj, a Member of Albanian Parliament.
“The regular exertion of the function of MP and the avoidance of every case where there’s a conflict of interest, is a condition for the validity of the MP’s mandate”, IBNA was told by Mr. Ristani.
The government doesn’t give up: Leskaj has no connection with the concession
Arben Ristani MP bases his accusation in two articles of the law. But the government says that this law only applies to those officials who are part of decision making in public procedures.
A government official told IBNA that “the claim for conflict of interests for this procedure is groundless as Valentina Leskaj MP has no connection whatsoever with the decision making process relating to the granting of concession for the railway segment Ballsh-Fier-Vlora”.
According to the government official, the procedure followed for the concession on the rehabilitation of the railway segment Fier-Ballsh-Vlora, has been open and in compliance with the legal framework. “This procedure offered an opportunity to all national and international subjects to participate for a period of 50 days, a period during which the announcement has been published in the Bulletin of the Public Announcements of the Agency of Public Procurement”. /ibna/