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The man who sank Ilir Beqaj in SPAK speaks for the fatherland with the "Sterilization" concession: The ex-minister involved head-to-toe in corrupt affairs, here are the hard details inside the '100 million euro' file
Written by Rigels Seliman 20 Nëntor 2023
The head of Nisma Thurje, Endri Shabani, sees the measure "obligation to appear" against the former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj, and the prohibition to leave the country, after the investigations into the sterilization concession, as overdue, since the denunciation by the political force he leads it was made a few years ago. In a television interview this weekend, he stated that it is not the first time that there has been an investigation into this affair, but that the previous justice did not see the evidence as SPAK saw it. According to him, SPAK proved that the trust in the new justice is justified and that this case is a test to show that we have a completely different justice than the one we have had in 30 years. Even he, who is the person who reported Beqaj to SPAK regarding this affair, accuses the former minister of being involved in violence, as he added that this is a test to see that justice is separated from the influence of Prime Minister Edi Rama.
-Mr. Shabani, a lawsuit filed years ago in SPAK regarding the concession for sterilization in health where you accused Beqaj, it took many months for the security measure to come against him, how do you see this decision?
It takes a lot of time actually, but it is very important to focus on the positive part. It is not the first time that there has been an investigation into this affair and into these officials, starting with Minister Beqaj. But the previous justice had not seen all the evidence that SPAK had seen this time. Many told us how much faith you have that the file will not be closed and this case is a test for two things, the first is because we have a justice which is very different from what we have had for 30 years and the second is that we must not forget that Beqaj is supported by Rama. With this, we understood that justice is separated from the influence of the prime minister.
- Do you have doubts that the former minister is also directly involved?
I say yes because the positions of the state were clearly placed in an inferior position, where they had to do with the violation of equality in tenders and it was impossible for this to be done without the leadership of the former minister.
-Is there a figure for the damage caused to the state budget?
In the lawsuit, we made an estimate of how much it would cost the state if this work was done by this worker herself, because before the concession was given to the private sector, we did not sterilize the surgical instruments and with the assets that the ministry had, it could go up to 4 million euros and the state said it needed about 17 million euros per year. The contract was constructed in such a way that it placed the state in an inferior position. The contract has exceeded 100 million euros. The damage is extraordinary and it is no longer a matter of money, but of human lives, because during the pandemic, if we had this money, we would have more oxygen cylinders, beds, etc. Sterilization of surgical instruments is a necessity, but in order to convey to the private sector that we as public administrators are incompetent, I think that after this statement the minister should resign, that he is the person incapable of managing public property. The private sector has not done a better job, but the way it was given to the private sector was not with a public competition. Even if we didn't get the best and most qualified private for this job. Even this does not justify what the minister says. I hope that they will not only be punished but also return our money.
- For Prime Minister Rama in 2013, he said that the system built by Berisha is to blame, while he says that the responsibility is individual, how do you see this change in discourse?
Rama was right when he said that the system is important, because if you need money to win the elections, you cannot win if you are not corrupt, but it was Rama who took the system and perfected it to the detriment of the Albanians and to their advantage of himself, so at this point he understands very well that the responsibility here, not only political but also legal, cannot be personal. He has set up or inherited a pyramid scheme that enriches him and his inner circle. If he did not know that the minister was abusing public funds, what was he doing. He is responsible for not performing the task for which he was charged. If he had nothing in hand, Rama's discourse could make sense, but we are in a state where Rama controls everything. If he controls so much power and can't control his stealing cabinet he is incompetent. When SPAK captures his ministers he no longer protects them and is a very low standard for a prime minister. We mentioned Beqaj many years ago and the prime minister has continued to promote it during these years. At least publicly, he is not obstructing justice, because we have seen that the associates of the previous prime ministers were protected even when they were in prison, and at this point he should be given some kind of assessment.
- Did Rama pressure Beqaj to resign from the position he held?
I hope he did and he did well if he did because no official should use public office to defend himself. He is now being investigated and will pay like every citizen of Albania.
-Meanwhile, we have a concession where the obligations of the concession continue to be paid, how do you see the possibility of suspending the payments of this concession?
They should actually be suspended. I don't know why the court has not made a decision. It is imperative that the stolen money be returned to the Albanians. This money should be returned to the hospital service, so that Albanians do not die at the doors of hospitals. I want the theft to be stopped first and the money that was taken from us to be returned. The real justice will be when we get the money that was stolen from us, obviously they should be punished, I don't wish prison on anyone, but I want the theft to stop first and the money returned to us they were stolen from us.