FBI starts its collaboration with Albanian “FBI”. Is the role of Prosecution being duplicated?

FBI starts its collaboration with Albanian “FBI”. Is the role of Prosecution being duplicated?

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, April 2, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

American Federal Intelligence Bureau (FBI) arrives to Albania upon the request of PM Edi Rama, to help in the fight against crime. The head of the government confirmed that the FBI will assist the National Investigation Bureau, a newly established institution, which has been criticized by the opposition, as a parallel institution which unlawfully duplicates the General Prosecution.

PM Edi Rama said that “FBI will be involved with its expertise and assistance on field in order for the National Investigation Bureau’s work to mark a good start”.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister, Saimir Tahiri has met with the vice assistant director of the FBI J. Chris Warrener and the vice assistant director Brian McCauley, with which he has discussed on the strengthening of bilateral cooperation. Tahiri said that the aim is to collaborate in the fight against organized crime, illicit traffics and corruption.

Yesterday’s meeting (photo) comes after the visit of minister Tahiri in the USA and the meetings that he held with the deputy head of FBI, Mark Guliano. Earlier, FBI officials have also had a meeting with PM Rama in his office. Rama’s primary demand in this meeting for the Americans is for the National Bureau of Investigation to be taken under the patronage of the FBI. Rama’s demand has been seen with interest by the American side.

The meetings of FBI’s senior officials with Rama and Tahiri come at a culminating moment of the political clash between the majority and opposition on the topic of crime in Albania, for which the US Embassy in Tirana has been very active in the recent weeks.

IBNA learned that as of today, work has started between the Ministry of Interior and State Police with FBI experts for the full establishment and functioning of the National Bureau of Investigation.

FBI officials offered their support for the work of the Ministry of Interior in its engagement against any unlawfulness and strengthening of the rule of law in the country.

National Bureau of Investigation for the first time in Albania

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has been integrated within State Police. It will have 50 employees, who are judicial officers, police agents and experts from other domains. This bureau will trace and investigate different criminal offenses in the domain of corruption and organized criminal activity and it will depend on the Police Commissioner and General Attorney.

NBI is also considered to be the Albanian FBI. This bureau will exert its powers throughout the entire territory of the country and it will answer to the Police Commissioner about its tracing activity. Meanwhile, as far as the investigation activity is concerned, it will answer to the prosecutor.

The head of NBI will be appointed by the Minister of Interior, upon the proposal of the Police Commissioner every four years. Officially it is said that NBI will handle the analysis of criminal information which will arrive from specialized services of the Albanian state, with the fight against human traffic, contraband on the border of Albania with the region and international contraband.

NBI will also handle the fight against drug traffic and radioactive substances, the demolition of explosive weapons, anti-terror, fight against money laundering and corruption, cyber crime and the protection and accommodation of witnesses.

Duplication of the prosecution?

Some lawyers are against the establishment of the National Bureau of Investigation, arguing that with this structure, the government is duplicating the General Prosecution. According to them, the object of the Bureau’s work is the same as that of the prosecution, with the only difference that the Bureau doesn’t file charges at the court.

Opposition is against, DP filed against the establishment of the Bureau of Investigation in the Constitutional Court

Albanian opposition is entirely against the establishment of NBI. The Democratic Party has demanded to the Constitutional Court to declare the creation of the National Bureau of Investigation as anti-constitutional, because according to it, it threatens and takes over the powers of the Prosecution. Vice chairman of the DP, Arben Ristani says that NBI is unacceptable.

“The main constitutional principles and the division and balancing of powers are attacked. Imagine people appointed by the Minister of Interior and PM investigating government corruption”, says former Interior Minister, Arben Ristani.

Berisha: Rama is returning to his spiritual father Enver Hoxha

Former PM Sali Berisha is ironic when commenting the establishment of NBI. He says that “Rama is returning to the passion of his spiritual father Enver Hoxha”.

The former democrat leader says that NBI is in flagrant violation with the Constitution:

“This law removes the right of investigation to the Prosecution and passes it to the Police and so, the Prime Minister of the country will be the chief investigator of the state”. Berisha continues with his irony: “Rama will be the chief investigator who will decide about the investigation and will investigate PM Rama. This is an act of socialist heroism on the part of Mr. Rama”.

Hoxha: This super majority is a threat

Analyst Artan Hoxha says that the government is always the main threat of the constitutional principle of the balance and check between powers. But he adds that the current government, “assisted by its great numbers in parliament, has become as much dangerous as the one before democracy”.

Hoxha stops on the creation of NBI when he says that “the new law on Police and National Bureau of Investigation duplicates the role of Prosecution”.

Mima: A Putin like model

Democratic Party MP and former Minister of Economy, Florjon Mima says that NBI will start its work with the fight against tax evasion.

Mima considers this as unacceptable: “The National Bureau of Investigation will intervene in the accounting books. This is a pure Yeltsin-Putin like model”.

Mima is ironic when he adds: “Taxation Administration will deal with the extinction of fires, firefighters will divide properties and the Agency for the Return of Properties will handle road traffic”. /ibna/