Shijak Park, an investment of more than 40 million ALL and promised in 2019, does not exist! Paradoxically, in the documents, this park turns out to have been handed over on June 23 this year, but a day later permission was given to build the Palace of Culture in the same space. Faktoje verified that all payments for the non-existent park were fully paid. Meanwhile, the residents of Shijak say they are disappointed that the park, which is now a construction site, was never inaugurated. Ironically, the project of the Shijak Palace of Culture is rebuilt in the space of the park, and not on the site of the existing building, damaged by the earthquake and still intact.
In June 2019, the mayor of Shijak at that time, Ardian Kokomani, announced that the construction of a children’s park would soon begin in Shijak.
“The city park will soon be a reality of Shijak! As never before, a park for children and a green space dedicated to all ages will be built in Shijak!
In the heart of the city, the works will begin for one of the most necessary investments for our Shijak!
All the roads of Shijak lead to the Park”, Mr. Kokomani wrote on Facebook.
Screenshot, Facebook post of former mayor Ardian Kokomani
While in the comments on Facebook, he informed the citizens about the start date of the works.
Screenshot, former mayor Kokomani’s post
But what happened to the children’s park? The fact was in Shijak on November 4, 2022, where residents of the area expressed concern that the park was built, but was destroyed without making the children of the city of Shijak happy.
“They made that whole park for children, with benches, everything. They tore down the school and made some playgrounds for children, as a result, there was no inauguration, nothing. Then they also tore down the park and built the Palace of Culture. Here, they do things backwards, our money is wastes!”, a resident of Shijak told Faktoje.
The place where the Palace of Culture is being built, November 4, 2022
Faktoje did a search on the ‘ Open Procurement’ website, where it turns out that a tender was held in 2019, which matches the statement made by former mayor Kokomani. The limit fund for the Park project is ALL 45,387,152 without VAT.
Screenshot from the tender documents
If we look at the relation of the project “Recreational space, Shijak city park” it is noticed that there is a picture of how this space was before the construction of the park and how it would be transformed.
Space before the construction of the park
The Park project referred to the relationship
If we refer to the data of the Public Procurement Agency and ‘ Open Procurement’ , in June 2019 three contracts were signed for the construction of this space: the Works Contract, the Works Supervision Contract and the Works Approval Contract. The value for the construction of the park is 40 million Lek with VAT, which together with the supervision and approval goes to 40.7 million new Lek.
Table prepared by Faktoje (APP source)
From the analysis of the treasury payments made for these contracts, it results that on 31.10.2020 an invoice was issued for the final situation of the works for this park. The payment for the last bill to the builder was made on 30.12.2020.
Meanwhile, the release of the guarantee for the performance of the works by the Shijak Municipality was made almost two years later on 31.10.2022. This release came only after, according to the description in the transaction, the “deed of final handover” dated 23.06.2022 was made.
Screenshot from ‘Spending data.al’
Meanwhile, Shijak Municipality in the response to Faktoje’s request clarifies: “The works in this park started on 14.06.2019 and ended on 26.09.2019 and the amount for this construction is 39,095,729 ALL”.
Screenshot, Shijak Municipality’s response
“It is unclear why the invoice and the final situation are dated about 1 year later, in October 2020, and why the park was taken over after three years had passed since the completion of the works, according to the Municipality. Moreover, at the time of taking over the park, it turns out that it did not exist, then what did they take over?” – say economic experts for Faktoje.
If we refer to the payments made for the supervision of the works, they were made on two dates. The first on 08.10.2020 in the amount of about 445,000 ALL, this date approximates the payment for the final situation of the works. Meanwhile, the last payment in the amount of 200,000 ALL for the supervision of the works for the new park was made on April 14, 2021, or about 1.5 years after the completion of the works according to the Shijak Municipality.
Screenshot, data from the treasury
If we search in the data published by “Openspending”, it turns out that there is no payment for the approval of the works of the newly built park, although it turns out to have been taken over by the Municipality in 2022 even though it no longer existed. The transaction data of Shijak Municipality with the winning subject of the approval contract, show that there are no payments for the approval contract for the construction of the park.
Screenshot, data from the transaction
Economic experts say for Faktoje that with reference to treasury payments, the state has paid all the money
for the construction of this park that has been demolished today.
“If we look at the treasury payments related to this contract, it can be seen that the state budget has paid the full amount for the construction of the park. So, not only did they make a tender, signed a contract, but they also paid for the construction of a park that is no longer there today”, explain economic experts.
Regarding the issue of Shijak Park, Faktoje addressed a request for information to the Municipality of this city. One of the questions we asked the institution was what had happened to the park.
Request for information sent to Shijak Municipality, November 22, 2022
Shijak Municipality officially explains that due to the 2019 earthquake, the construction of 18 residential buildings and the Palace of Culture was decided in this area.
“Regarding the points where information is required about the city park, we inform you that after the earthquake of 26.11.2019, the Compulsory Local Plan was drawn up for the new area for development where 18 buildings were built. The location of the palace was exactly in this area.
Since the Palace of Culture was announced by the Construction Institute to be demolished by DS4-demolition act-expertise, then in the absence of the place, the Municipal Council made the decision to rebuild it in the new PDYV in its function by not demolishing it the staircase area and the greenery around this area, which will again serve the development of cultural and social activities for children.
For the above, we emphasize that the infrastructure in this area and recreational spaces are being rebuilt. The City Park, together with the Palace of Culture, will be available to all citizens of Shijak”, argues the Municipality of Shijak.
He further adds: “Regarding the point where information is requested on what is currently built on the land where the Park used to be, we inform you that in that area a new PDYV was approved to make 18 buildings, the Palace of Culture and the existing park around this area”.
Faktoje reported in November that the old building of the Palace of Culture, damaged by the earthquake of November 26, 2019, has not collapsed yet, even though it is out of order.
Shijak Palace of Culture, damaged by the earthquake and intact, November 2022