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Ending impunity for grand corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Dako - Ending impunity for grand corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Introduction

Wiretapped conversations from an ongoing investigation by the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office were leaked.

Country
Albania
Sector
Elections
Offence
Abuse of power; Active corruption in elections
Phase
Investigation

Timeline

Suspicion
Official detection
Prelim. investigation
Investigation
Settlement
Indictment filed
Court accepts case
1st instance procedure
1st instance verdict
2nd instance procedure
2nd instance verdict
3rd instance procedure
3rd instance verdict
Extraordinary remedy
Pardon
Enforcement
No charges have been submitted
No criminal procedures

Main Details of the Offence Committed

Wiretapped conversations from an ongoing investigation by the Serious Crimes Prosecution Office were leaked.

The wiretaps revealed that Vangjush Dako, a three-term mayor of Durrës, member of the Socialist Party Steering Committee at the time, and the party official responsible for the election campaign in Durrës, was part of a scheme to secure votes for the Socialist Party during the June 2017 parliamentary elections in collaboration with a local crime family: the Avdylaj clan.

Members of the Avdylaj clan engaged in vote-buying and intimidation of state and municipal employees in the district of Durrës. In exchange for helping the Socialist Party to secure votes, the clan was offered preferential access to several local institutions (most notably the local land tenure office).

The clan did benefit from access to local government institutions. Astrit Avdylaj, the most prominent member of the clan, asked Elton Arbana, the chairman of the Socialist Party in the district of Shijak (Durrës region) to intervene by annulling a fine for unauthorised construction that had been imposed by the construction inspectorate of the municipality of Durrës. The wiretaps also indicate that the clan gained access to the local land tenure office.

Abuse of power and active corruption in elections

Mayor of Durrës

May-June 2017

Elections

Jurisdiction(s)

N/A

Procedural Details

Investigation

Dako was not charged, but the General Prosecutor’s Office has maintained that his activities are under investigation. He was questioned once by the prosecution about his connections with the Avdylaj clan.

The main obstacle is that the Special Anti-Corruption Structure (SPAK) did not file any charges on vote-buying. Dako is a prominent member of the Socialist Party and a close associate of Prime Minister Rama. The investigation into Dako’s activities would directly influence the political standing of the prime minister.

Outcome of the Case

N/A

From one to seven years in prison, under Articles 248 and 328 of the Albanian Criminal Code

N/A

N/A

N/A