The prime minister considers the CEZ scandal an opposition fantasy. He says that the settlement agreement was a condition set by IMF and World Bank for financing
Tirana, 20 October 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
The leader of opposition in Albania, warns that if justice is not made on the theft of what it considers to be a 600 million euros in the CEZ scandal, there will be no stability in the country.
The democrat leader, Lulzim Basha, appeared in a news conference on Monday and stopped on the main argument of the opposition which relates to the shady affair of the Czech company that acquired 76% of the shares of the Power Supply Distribution Operator in Albania for 102 million euros and after holding it for several years, the Albanian government decided to pay off 102 million USD in a settlement agreement.
For the opposition, this is an outrageous act, as Albania great chances of winning against CEZ in the Arbitrage Court and the state budget would receive 600 million euros.
The High State Audit also considered the agreement as abusive and talked about 479 million euros worth of financial damage caused by the government to the state.
These arguments encouraged Mr. Basha to call on the government once again to allow the investigation of the case with the participation of an international body.
Basha considered the CEZ scandal as the theft of the century and addressed a question to Mr. Rama: “Why don’t you accept the international investigation as an instrument proposed by the opposition, to throw light on the biggest corruption scandal in Europe, admitted by the government’s lawyers too”.
Basha accuses Rama of giving away 600 million euros to CEZ, for not taking the case to arbitrage and for not allowing an investigation into this affair.
Mr. Basha addressed another public question to Rama: “Where are the Albanian people’s money?”
Basha said that “The investigation of the largest corruption scheme, of the CEZ affair, is the foundation stone for the stability of the country and its future”.
According to him, Rama cannot continue to govern the country, “at a time when he has stolen 600 million euros from the country”.
According to Basha, the cost of this affair for every Albanian is 200 euros.
But in contrast to the opposition leader, the majority leader sees the suspected CEZ scandal as pure fantasy of the opposition.
Two years after coming in power, Rama says that CEZ had a debt of 1 billion euros and that the solution to this gridlock was the main condition imposed by International Monetary Fund in order to launch a new financing program for Albania.
“The condition was to solve the issue with the company that privatized the power distribution operator and it was suggested this issue should not only be solved as soon as possible, but that it should be settled amicably”, Rama declared today, adding that the same thing was also asked by the World Bank. “Like the IMF, the World Bank too refused to enter an agreement with the new government, as the previous government wasn’t delivering any of the conditions imposed for a new financial support. The first condition related to a reform in the energy sector, a solution to the issue with the company that privatized the distribution operator, as Albania was risking sinking into an energy crisis at that time and it was very difficult to recover again”.
Rama said that the agreement that is being attacked today, was negotiated in the offices of the Energy Community in Vienna. According to him, that agreement brought normalization of the energy situation in Albania.
“If in 2012, the company was losing 379 million USD a year, this year the company is making a profit of 104 million USD”, Rama said. /ibna/