Albania lacks independent oversight institutions, leaving the door open to corruption

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Translations: SQ


Transparency International, the global anti-corruption movement, said today that Albania remains vulnerable to corruption because of political interference and a lack of independence at key oversight institutions.

The National Integrity System Assessment - Albania 2016, the first-ever in-depth assessment of corruption risks in Albania, evaluates how effective the anti-corruption measures are at all principal institutions and sectors, including all branches of government, the judiciary, media, public and private sectors, and civil society.

“Albania falls short of the European Union requirements on anti-corruption and unless it introduces key reforms this could derail EU accession,” said Cornelia Abel, Coordinator for Southeast Europe and Western Balkans at Transparency International. “It is troubling that institutions that are set up to ensure decision makers act in the interest of Albanian citizens are not given the strength, impartiality and resources to do so.”

The assessment finds that key institutions for fighting corruption, such as the Prosecutor’s Office, the High Court, the Central Election Commission (CEC) and the High Inspectorate for the Declaration and Audit of Assets and Conflict of Interest (HIDAACI), are subject to political pressure and interference that undermines their ability to fulfil their role to stop corruption.

Albania’s legal framework does not guarantee the independence of these key institutions from political power despite the recent reforms designed to meet a key EU requirement for starting accession negotiations.

“Albania’s recent judicial reform was a good start, but now needs to be implemented,” said Transparency International’s Abel. “Several laws of the justice reform package remain to be adopted by Parliament, and all eyes are on the government and the opposition to work together to make this reform real. Much more needs to be done if Albania aspires to start accession negotiations with the EU.”

The Central Election Commission (CEC), which is responsible for overseeing political party and campaign financing, is hampered by political interference as political parties nominate its members. Despite an oath of impartiality, political loyalties have been evident in the past years. Protection of CEC members is weak, with parties being able to change the composition of lower level commissions at will – even on election day. The CEC remains under-resourced, with only two employees responsible for overseeing campaign financing of all political parties, and external auditors left with the bulk of the work. External auditors lack incentive to take on this task, leaving political parties and the countries’ decision-makers without adequate oversight.

Political parties – found to have the lowest level of integrity compared to all actors and institutions assessed – are not obliged to report campaign funds and expenditures during election campaigns, which means that voters do not know who is supporting which candidate before making their choice. 

“This report shows where changes are clearly needed to fight corruption. Albania has one of the highest levels of perceived corruption in the region. Albanians are disillusioned with the political system, and they’re tired of seeing the corrupt use money or influence to buy their way out,” said Abel. “Elected and appointed officials must understand that they hold their positions to improve the lives of the Albanian citizens. Any abuse of position must be exposed, denounced and punished.”

In addition to the completion and implementation of justice reform, Transparency International sets forth the following key recommendations to root out corruption in Albania and ensure key oversight institutions are able to function without political interference:

  1. The Parliamentary ad-hoc committee on electoral reform must assume full function. A key focus of its work should be the independence of election administration.
  2. Parliament must urgently establish an ad-hoc committee – assisted by a technical secretariat – on conflict of interest reform and lobbying regulation. This committee should have a mandate to propose changes that simplify the legal framework, strengthen the independence of key institutions and render enforcement possible.
  3. Political parties must adopt higher standards when they choose electoral candidates and public functionaries to ensure professionalism and higher levels of integrity in the public sector.


For any press enquiries please contact

Berlin
Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck
E. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T. +49 30 3438 20 666

Tirana
Cornelia Abel
E. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T. (+355) 069-56 46 090

Latest

Support Transparency International

The terrible consequences of police corruption in South Africa

What do we do when those mandated to protect us are serving other interests than public safety and security? In South Africa, police corruption leaves the public exposed to high rates of crime, and causes distrust of the police service while allowing crime to flourish.

Why do DRC citizens report such high levels of corruption?

People's experiences with corruption in the DRC are far worse than in most other African countries. Why is corruption so prevalent in the DRC, why is bribery so commonplace and why do two thirds of citizens feel powerless?

Is Mauritius at a tipping point in the fight against corruption?

According to the latest GCB for Africa, very few Mauritians who accessed public services, like health care and education, had to pay a bribe for those services. But given recent scandals, citizens still see certain groups and institutions as corrupt.

Countries must be more transparent when investigating transnational corruption

Supervisory and justice systems should be transparent and accountable so that the public can assess their performance.

Resilient institutions

Reducing corruption is an important component of the sustainable development agenda, and one that all state parties have an obligation to address. Although corruption is often thought of as a ‘third-world problem’, institutions in the Global North play an important role in the corruption cycle, and are therefore an essential part of the solutions.

In whose interest? Political integrity and corruption in Africa

What accounts for the wide disparity in peoples’ perceptions of the integrity of elected representatives in different countries? In this piece, we will to look at various forms of political corruption, how they manifest in African countries and what can be done to promote political integrity.

Cidadãos opinam sobre a corrupção em África

A décima edição do Barómetro Global de Corrupção (GCB) – África revela que embora a maioria das pessoas na África acreditem que os níveis de corrupção aumentaram no seu país, elas também se sentem otimistas, pois acreditam que os cidadãos podem fazer a diferença no combate à corrupção.

Les citoyens africains expriment leur opinion sur la corruption

La 10e édition du Baromètre mondial de la corruption – Afrique révèle que la plupart des Africains pensent que la corruption a augmenté dans leur pays, mais aussi que la majorité d’entre eux s’estiment capables, en tant que citoyens, de changer la donne dans la lutte contre la corruption.

Global Corruption Barometer - Africa 2019

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa reveals that more than half of all citizens surveyed in 35 African countries think corruption is getting worse in their country. 59 per cent of people think their government is doing badly at tackling corruption.

Citizens speak out about corruption in Africa

The Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Africa, reveals that while most people in Africa feel corruption increased in their country, a majority also feel optimistic that they can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media