Albanian Socialist MPs Urge Prosecutors to Find Those Who Leaked the Electiongate Tapes

Socialist MPs Urge Prosecutors to Find Those Who Leaked the Electiongate Tapes

From left to right: Xhemal Qefalia, Saimir Tahiri, Ulsi Manja, Edi Rama, Damian Gjiknuri, Imer Lala

The ruling Socialist Party (PS) MPs have demanded Temporary General Prosecutor Arta Marku to take measures against prosecutors who have leaked investigation information to the media.

The request follows the publication of wiretaps by the German newspaper BILD, in which Prime Minister Rama, then-ministers Damian Gjiknuri and Saimir Tahiri, MPs Ulsi Manja, Xhemal Qefalia, Pjerin Ndreu and Artan Gaçi, as well as Mayor of Durrës Vangjush Dako appeared in phone conversations with crimes bosses discussing vote buying, intimidation and threatening of voters.

67 PS MPs and five others from the new opposition approved a resolution urging Arta Marku to push for:

Each prosecutor and prosecution office employee to comply with the law on investigative secrecy. The Parliament requires the drafting and issuance of unified rules for informing the public and the media regarding the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses […] in compliance with principles stipulated in the law on protection of investigative secrecy.

Socialist Party MPs have failed to pass any similar resolution, or request the prosecution office in any other way to investigate high government and party officials appearing in collusion with criminals to buy votes and intimidate voters, as evidenced by wiretaps. Vote buying and voter intimidation are both criminal offenses under the Albanian law.

Instead, they have repeatedly demanded the prosecution office to investigate those who leaked the wiretaps to the media.

Ulsi Manja, chairman of Legal Affairs Committee, who was also heard in the latest wiretaps from Dibër County, defended Mayor Vangjush Dako right after wiretaps exposing vote-buying in Durrës reached the public. In a statement to the media, back then Manja stated that he was not worried about who was heard talking and what they said in wiretaps but was instead concerned about the leaking of investigation information by prosecutors, which constitutes criminal offense:

I’m not worried about the fate of people whose names are mentioned in that [case] file, but I’m concerned about two things: first, law enforcement agencies (prosecution and judicial police) should seriously assess issues of leaks of investigative secrets to public, and return to channels of enforcing the law, not only to investigate the persons involved in Dossier 339 [Durrës], but also [to investigate] within [those institutions] all those Prosecutors and Judicial Police officers who have abandoned their constitutional mission and have taken the case files to the [opposition] Democratic Party offices. This is a serious breach of investigative secrecy. This is a punishable criminal offense.

On July 9, Head of Serious Crimes Prosecution Donika Prela was asked by the High Prosecutorial Council on the information leaks from Dossier 339. Prela stated that they were investigating into the matter, and offenders would be found and prosecuted soon.

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