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BIRN analysis: The government's action to confiscate buildings without permission faces criticism

BIRN analysis: The government's action to confiscate buildings without

Sitting in his office behind a stack of files, Prime Minister Edi Rama declared on November 21 that he had signed the confiscations of 15 buildings that exceeded the permit or without a construction permit. Rama also attacked skeptics who had questioned his government's intentions and accused the Prosecutor's Office of sleeping on the allegations.

"Today, after going through all the legal links, I signed a total of 15 construction confiscation procedures, where the legal limits were exceeded for profit purposes. The spaces taken will be transferred to the state, which will use them for office environments, housing or social services, as appropriate," declared Rama.

The public appearance of the prime minister comes after a controversial decision taken by his government in September to confiscate buildings for profit purposes that have violated construction permits, as well as the balance of this action so far.

But governance and legislation experts say that the government has usurped the powers of the judiciary and are suspicious of the long-term success of this action.

The director of the Albanian Center for Economic Research, Zef Preçi, compares this new campaign of the government against illegal constructions with the failed operation "Forca e Lagiit".

"The problem is even bigger from the constitutional point of view, because the government has expanded the scope of its power by limiting the power of the judiciary. Under these conditions, this decision-making saves the offender from criminal punishment, guarantees some income, perhaps more in the pockets of politicians than in the state coffers, and at the same time promises the role of Robin Hood, who will take from the rich and give give to the poor, which has neither happened nor will happen," said Preçi.

Lawyer Redon Meksi says that according to the current legislation, builders who have violated the law should be prosecuted first by the Prosecutor's Office.

"They made a detailed VKM to possibly avoid criminal liability. Normally, legally, it does not avoid criminal responsibility, but they will move with all their means to avoid this responsibility," Meksi said.

Qeveria shqiptare nuk iu përgjigj pyetjeve të BIRN mbi pallatet e konfiskuara dhe ndjekjen e dy standardeve me ndërtimet pa leje.

Ndërsa Prokuroria e Tiranës tha se ndërtimet e konfiskuara nga qeveria ishin të gjitha nën hetim, përveç një rasti për të cilin nuk kishte referim. Prokuroria tha gjithashtu se kishte marrë të pandehur ndërtuesin Julian Morina, aksioner i “Xheluks Construction”, e cila në partneritet me kompani të tjera, ka edhe numrin më të madh të ndërtimeve të konfiskuara.

Morina nuk ishte i arritshëm për koment, ndërsa shumica e ndërtuesve refuzuan të komentonin vendimet e konfiskimit të pallateve të tyre nga qeveria. Robert Biqiku, aksioner në një ndërtim të konfiskuar pranë “Liceut Artistik” tha se situata ishte e paqartë dhe priste që qeveria të sqaronte pozicionin e saj.

Illegal constructions are a common phenomenon of the Albanian transition and despite sporadic actions by governments - informality has continued to challenge law enforcement. According to architect Dorina Musai, this phenomenon is appearing recently as "controlled informality".

"Tirana is more unstable than it was when there was no plan. But we are seeing that new problems are being added, informality as a phenomenon that was widespread in the territory today is appearing in a different form as controlled informality. Tirana is showing what we call the lack of spatial justice, which means in other terms the lack of social justice," concluded Musai./ Reporter.la

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