Shijak Municipality has deposited the waste in a temporary landfill, although a 5-year agreement with the Tirana Landfill is in force, which was officially confirmed by the institution itself, after repeated requests for information from Faktoje. The verification showed that the total value of the obligations that the municipality of Shijak has under the contract towards the Sharre landfill is 121,730 euros including VAT. The municipality declares that only one bill of 5,275 euros was issued, which consists of the incomplete payment for the deposit of about 182 tons of waste in the period August 24-August 31, 2021.

Ilda Hoxha

In an article dated September 21, Faktoje reported on waste management in Shijak Municipality, referring to statements made by two officials, the MP of the Freedom Party, Petrit Vasili, and the mayor of Shijak Municipality, Elton Arbana.

Following up this matter of public interest, on September 19, we addressed a request for information to the Municipality of Shijak, asking about the waste disposal.

Request for information sent to Shijak Municipality, September 19, 2022

Shijak Municipality responded on October 4 and confirmed that from January 16, 2020 to June 7, 2022, Shijak Municipality’s waste has been deposited in Tirana Waste Treatment Area (Sharra Landfill).

“This is to inform you that from the moment of the closure of the waste disposal site in Porto-Romano by decision no. 1 dated 16.01.2020 of the Committee for Integrated Waste Management due to the implementation of the project for the encapsulation of waste and the revitalization of the EkoPark area and until June 7, 2022, the waste of Shijak Municipality has been deposited in the Tirana Waste Treatment Area (TWTA) without making any payment, as confirmed by the attached letter from the Durrës Treasury Branch”, the Municipality of Shijak officially announces.

However, since the answers of Shijak Municipality were incomplete, Faktoje addressed a complaint to the office of the Commissioner for the Right to Information.

The full response from Shijak Municipality, dated 18.10.2022, states that in the period August 2021 (the moment of signing the act-agreement) until June 2022, (the moment when the decision is made to deposit the waste in the temporary landfill), 3498 tons of waste are deposited in Tirana Landfill.

Request for information sent to Shijak Municipality, September 19, 2022

Shijak Municipality responded on October 4 and confirmed that from January 16, 2020 to June 7, 2022, Shijak Municipality’s waste has been deposited in Tirana Waste Treatment Area (Sharra Landfill).

“This is to inform you that from the moment of the closure of the waste disposal site in Porto-Romano by decision no. 1 dated 16.01.2020 of the Committee for Integrated Waste Management due to the implementation of the project for the encapsulation of waste and the revitalization of the EkoPark area and until June 7, 2022, the waste of Shijak Municipality has been deposited in the Tirana Waste Treatment Area (TWTA) without making any payment, as confirmed by the attached letter from the Durrës Treasury Branch”, the Municipality of Shijak officially announces.

However, since the answers of Shijak Municipality were incomplete, Faktoje addressed a complaint to the office of the Commissioner for the Right to Information.

The full response from Shijak Municipality, dated 18.10.2022, states that in the period August 2021 (the moment of signing the act-agreement) until June 2022, (the moment when the decision is made to deposit the waste in the temporary landfill), 3498 tons of waste are deposited in Tirana Landfill.

Shijak Municipality’s response, October 18, 2022

If we take into consideration the amount of waste deposited for the period September 2021-August 2022 according to the declaration of Shijak Municipality, the total amount of waste deposited is 5218 tons. As we discussed in the article about the waste of Kamza Municipality, the amount of waste is drastically reduced compared to the official data declared and the forecasts in the feasibility study of Shijak Municipality.

“There is a big risk that the quantities of the past were fictitious and inflated due to the lack of scales. Thus, with the inflated costs of waste transportation paid to the economic operators, the quantities deposited in Sharra do not represent all the waste generated by Shijak Municipality”, experts explain to Faktoje.

According to the data sent to us by Shijak Municipality on the quantities of waste generated by this municipality during 2017-2020, such quantities varied from 5920 tons in 2020 to 9797 tons in 2019. Shijak Municipality itself has predicted that in the next 10 years it will generate 11,826 tons of waste per year, i.e. more than twice the quantity of waste declared for September 2021-August 2022.

The reply of Shijak Municipality, 7.09.2021

What is the cost of disposal and how many payments did Shijak Municipality make?

According to the agreement with Sharra Landfill, the disposal price is 29 euros per ton, VAT excluded. For the 3498 tons disposed in this landfill, the total value payable according to the contract is 101,442 euros without VAT or 121,730 euros, including VAT.

In the meantime, Shijak Municipality declares that until June 7, 2022, the date when the disposal in Tirana Landfill stopped, the waste disposal is carried out free of charge.

“It is not clear why Tirana Landfill agreed not to be paid for the waste disposed there by Shijak Municipality if there is already an agreement between them as claimed, and why has an invoice of 5275 euros been issued.

Why did they stop issuing invoices? If a lawful agreement is already in force, then both invoicing and payment should have continued as normal for the claimed amount of waste disposed and there would be no need for a new procurement procedure. If such agreement is lawful, why has the waste disposal at Sharra Landfill stopped and waste disposed in some temporary site instead? Most likely, there are problems with the lawfulness of the contract”, experts argue for Faktoje.

Screenshot of Shijak Municipality’s reply to Faktoje

Contract with the landfill for waste disposal

In its official reply, Shijak Municipality also provided us with a copy of the agreement which was signed for a period of 5 years.

For the implementation of this agreement, the representatives of Shijak Municipality have also signed annex 1X, a form of commitment on the obligations of the local units of Durrës region. In this way, Shijak Municipality is committed to making all payments at a price of 29 euros per ton without VAT according to the term of the contract.

This agreement was signed upon approval of the Municipal Council. A feasibility study presented to the Municipal Council for this purpose was made available to us. However, there seems to have been no procurement procedure followed for the approval of this agreement.

The ‘Preconditions’ section in this Agreement refers to the general agreement for the construction of Tirana Landfill.

Point 2 of this section specifies that the above contract: “provides for the supply and processing of urban waste that will come from local units, which are not part of Tirana region in accordance with article 9, point 9.15 thereof, as well as upon approval by the contracting authority, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, for Shijak Municipality, via an official email dated 05.07.2021, which will be an integral and inseparable part of this agreement on waste disposal”.

If we refer to article 9, point 9.15 of the contract for the construction of Tirana Landfill, it provides: “The Contracting Authority shall guarantee the concessionaire that the latter, in order to increase the profitability/maximization of investments, shall have the right to receive and supply waste also from local units of other regions or private or public third parties, insofar as this does not affect the fulfillment of the obligations that the concessionaire has under this contract”.

Screenshot of the agreement

“This shows that the contract gives the right to the concessionaire to be supplied with waste from units of other regions, but it does not give the right to local units such as Shijak Municipality to enter into an agreement with the concessionaire, without carrying out the relevant procedures required by the public procurement legislation.

For example, this is the case of Durrës Municipality, which has at least formally developed a procurement procedure for the disposal of waste in the landfill of Sharra, unlike that of Shijak”, the experts emphasize.

Through a request for information, Faktoje asked Shijak Municipality why this institution has not developed a procurement procedure related to waste disposal, as the Durrës Municipality has done.

In its official reply, Shijak Municipality states: “The agreement for the waste disposal at the TWTA was signed between Shijak Municipality and the concessionaire company ‘Integrated Energy BV SPV’ LLC, after approval by the Municipal Council, without a procurement procedure…”

The reply of Shijak Municipality

However, it turns out that the Municipality of Shijak, by decision dated 09.06.2022 of the Municipal Council, has approved the disposal of waste to a temporary place in the village of Shetel. This decision, which comes almost a year after the signing of the agreement with Sharra Landifll,is made “under emergency conditions”.

Screenshot, the decision of the Municipality Council

“The agreement with Sharra landfill is approved for 5 years and is in force, so it is unclear why the waste should be disposed in a temporary landfill and what the emergency is”, argue the experts.

What is noticeable is that exactly after this decision was taken by the Municipal Council, a procurement procedure for waste disposal was opened by Shijak Municipality, which, according to the reply of this institution, failed due to non-participation of operators.

But why was there a need for Shijak Municipality to develop a procurement procedure when there is currently an allegedly lawful agreement in force with Sharra Landfill?

In order to answer this question, Faktoje asked Shijak Municipality to make available copies of the approval from the contracting authority, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy given to the Shijak Municipality, via the official email dated 07.05.2021, which will be an integral and inseparable part of this waste disposal agreement.

Even after the complaint made to the commissioner, asking to be provided with the document, which is considered an integral part of the agreement, Shijak Municipality refused using this justification: “The e-mail forwarded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy is a personal, nonofficial e-mail, through which provisions of the concessionary agreement regarding the way of operation of Tirana Waste Treatment Area were forwarded”.

Screenshot, Shijak Municipality’s reply

Consequently, this email, which is defined in the agreement as the official approval email received from MIE, is not made available to us, considering it now a personal email that cannot be made public.