JOEL ÇELA

It took the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Reconstruction more than 3 months to return incomplete responses to the documentation required for the trip to Dubai of some officials earlier this year. With all the delays and lack of transparency, the incomplete responses were contradictory with what Prime Minister Rama stated regarding luxury travel expenses. Meanwhile, the invitation of the host party, which according to the Municipality of Tirana was sent to the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Reconstruction, remains a mystery.

On January 21 and 22, Faktoje sent requests for information to 4 institutions which sent senior representatives to the delegation that visited Dubai earlier this year. As we reported on March 21, only two of the four institutions, respectively the Prime Minister’s Office and the Municipality of Tirana, responded to us after the complaint to the Commissioner for the Right to Information. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and the Ministry of Reconstruction refused to respond even after the complaint to the Commissioner, in complete violation of legal deadlines.

The response of these 2 institutions takes on special importance, as the Municipality of Tirana informed us that the invitation for this visit was initially sent by the host party to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy and the Minister of State for Reconstruction.

3 months after sending the request for information, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy informed us that all costs were covered by the host party.

This answer contradicts what Prime Minister Rama had stated on January 15 on “Open“. He stated that the host party had paid for everything, except for the plane tickets, which were covered by the Albanian government.

Ten days later, on April 29, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy provided us with the order authorizing the service abroad for the officials who were going to Dubai. In a practice similar to what we saw in the Municipality of Tirana, this order was signed on January 5, 2021, just 2 days before the start of the official visit (January 7-10).

The Ministry of Infrastructure provided us with a service order of the officials for participating in the visit to Dubai. We were unable to receive the official invitation for this visit, which we had specifically requested.

Authorization for overseas service, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

 Unlike the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, the Ministry of Reconstruction did not provide us any documents regarding this travel of the official. In the short e-mail it sent us, this institution confirms that all expenses are covered by the host party.

Response of the Ministry of Reconstruction, May 7, 2021

This official statement of the Ministry of Reconstruction contradicts the statement of Prime Minister Rama on covering the costs of travel tickets by the Albanian government.