EDIT NIKOLLI

Mr Elton Arbana, Mayor of Shijak, has repeatedly changed the cut-off dates to complete the reconstruction of single-family homes during the year. While in early March, he stated that 567 homes had been completely reconstructed, data from the Albanian Development Fund (ADF) – the reconstruction project implementation unit – and on-site checks showed that the mayor’s statement was false.


On March 5th, Mr Elton Arbana, Mayor of Shijak, stated:

“Our results speak for themselves; 567 single-family homes have been completely rebuilt and provided free of charge to the citizens of Shijak.”

In the meantime, Faktoje went on to fact-check the string of mayor’s promises at different times of the year regarding the reconstruction process, employing on-site observation and official information published by Shijak municipality.

In late February, we submitted a request for information to the Municipality of Shijak and the ADF regarding the progress of the reconstruction of single-family homes.

Request for information addressed to the Albanian Development Fund, February 26th, 2021

The ADF gave the following reply:

Reply by the Albanian Development Fund, March 2nd, 2021

“To date, 347 homes have been fully reconstructed in Shijak and Kavaja and completion and commissioning records are underway. The ADF and relevant municipalities are examining the process as a whole.”

The reply shows that contrary to Shijak mayor’s statements, the number of finished homes is not 567, but rather 374 if we consider that the latter includes homes under Kavaja municipality jurisdiction.

Concurrently, Shijak Municipality did not provide any of the required data regarding the number of reconstructed homes, given that our request for information was still under review since some of the employees had contracted COVID-19.

Reply by Shijak municipality, March 10th, 2021

Following these replies, Faktoje decided to travel to Shijak and observe the reconstruction process. Along the way, Faktoje noted that a number of houses had not yet been completed.

Home under construction, Xhafzotaj/Shijak, March 12th, 2021

Home under construction, Xhafzotaj/Shijak, March 12th, 2021

One of the workers who was doing some works on one of the homes in Xhafzotaj told us:

“I’m not exactly sure when the reconstruction process is supposed to end. We have already been assigned different tasks; one day I’m working at this home and the other I’m doing something else in another home. The process also depends on the surface area of each building.”

 Gjepalaj Administrative Unit, March 12th, 2021

We travelled to Xhafzotaj Administrative Unit and asked to talk to the administrator to get official data on the number of reconstructed homes, but he was not there. Afterwards, we went to Gjepalaj unit whose administrator refused to provide any data:

“We have already reconstructed several homes, but I cannot give you any reply.”

 Home in the process of completion, Gjepala, March 12th, 2021

During our on-site checks, while it was virtually reconstructed, one of the homes had yet to be supplied with water and energy. Nonetheless, one of the residents was optimistic.

“We are installing plumbing fixtures and the back door. Our home is finally done and we are so happy. We did have to wait for quite some time, but the results were worth it.”

Based on the information provided by the ADF and on-site checks, we found the Shijak mayor’s statement on the completion of 567 single-family homes reconstruction is rated as “False”.