According to a report from Supreme Audit Institution and State Attorney’s Office data, in the last decade, Albania lost 10 cases in International Courts of Arbitration. In monetary terms, the said lost cases are translated in tens of millions Euros damage to the State Budget. 109 million Euros is the “bill” our state budget will have to pay to the Italian businessman, Becchetti. The State Attorney’s Office, which is an institution exclusively in charge of protecting the property interests of the state in such processes, refuses to disclose decisions and respond to requests for information.

Losing the case Albanian State vs. the Italian businessman, Francesco Becchetti, had an economic damage of around 109 million Euros to the State Budget and was the highest value in the country history, in terms of decisions ruled by the Court of Arbitration.

The lost case against Becchetti was not the first one.

Losing cases in Courts of Arbitration started in 2003, when the Government of Albania led by the Prime Minister, Fatos Nano, allocated the American company “General Electric” a contract for constructing Tirana-Durrës railway infrastructure, also known as electric trains. However, upon the power rotation in 2005, the government led by the former Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, unilaterally terminated the contract. In 2007, the Court of Roma in Italy charged the Albanian government with unilateral contract termination, imposing an amount of 20 million dollars to be paid from the state budget.

Does Albania risk losing other cases referred to Arbitration?

Unilateral contract termination with “Dondi, Itali & Kubota, Japoni”, for the “Greater Tirana Sewerage System Improvement” project in 2018, may cost the State Budget around 90 million Euros.

Considering the illegitimacy of unilateral contract termination, it is very likely that the contractor will win this case and the State Budget will pay a significant amount of over 90 million Euros.” – the 2018 report on “State Budget Implementation” by the Supreme Audit Institution shows.

The “Greater Tirana Sewerage System Improvement” project, which would be financed by the Japanese government, and the financial agreement was ratified by Law No. 9964, dated 24.07.2008.

No information on the Courts of Arbitration decisions can be found on the State Attorney’s Office website.

No data on the process, parties concerned, costs or arguments presented can be found on the Official Website of this institution, in the section “Courts of Arbitration Decisions”.

Screenshot from the State Attorney’s Office website, section “Courts of Arbitration Decisions”.

The State Attorney’s Office refuses to respond to official requests.

On 23.07.2020, “Faktoje” submitted a “Request for Information” to the State Attorney’s Office, requesting data on legal processes in Courts of Arbitration.

Request for information to the State Attorney’s Office.

Although it is a legal obligation and they are past the deadline, the State Attorney’s Office did not provide a response on the questions we submitted.

On the 2019 annual report, the Supreme Audit Institution emphasizes issues with lack of data from the State Attorney’s Office on international legal processes in Arbitration.

As far as international arbitration decisions are concerned, the State Attorney’s Office does not have full information on the amounts paid by institutions, which are parties to the adjudication, and as such, executed and unexecuted values by the state budget cannot be confirmed by this institution, which according to the SAI, presents an immediate need for a different approach to legal provisions on such obligations” – SAI Report shows.

Brikena Kasmi, a jurisconsult and former Deputy Minister of Justice, considers lack of transparency by the State Attorney’s Office a serious problem.

“The main failure of the State Attorney’s Office that I have noted is lack of transparency, which provides uncertainty and unreliability. Lack of transparency is undoubtedly one of those cases that should change, because uncertainty does not protect Albanian citizens and businesses. This will later lead to allegations of abuse or negative phenomena in the bureaucracy of public administration institutions, involving the State Attorney’s Office.” – Ms. Kasmi argued in the “Unpublished” TV program in Euronews Albania, on 22 June 2020.