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The former mayor of Durrës, Vangjush Dako, surrendered to the Tirana Police Directorate on Tuesday afternoon, after the Special Court signed an arrest warrant against him issued by SPAK on the charge of abuse of office.
Together with Dako, five other officials of the Municipality of Durrës and a builder were arrested, while three female employees were placed under house arrest.
The arrest warrant for Dako was issued after investigations into two separate cases; the clearing of the permit for the construction of a building in Durrës almost two years after it was built, as well as the tender for the construction of a promenade in the coastal area.
A source aware of the investigation told BIRN that the report on the promenade tender was made by the High State Control and the damage was calculated at 18 million ALL.
Vangjush Dako is the long-time mayor of the Socialist Party in Durrës, declared undesirable by the US Department of State with the motivation of "major corruption" in July 2019.
Vangjush Dako was elected mayor of Durrës for the first time in the 2007 elections with a margin of about 350 votes. In the following two elections, Dako widened this margin and in the 2015 elections secured 13,700 more votes than the opposition candidate. As the political leader of the Durrës district for the socialists, Dako was a key factor in winning the general elections of 2017 by the majority of Prime Minister Edi Rama.
But these election results of the former mayor of Durrës were accompanied by accusations from the opposition, which accused Dako of involvement in the alienation of the election results in the district. The accusations against Dako became more concrete, when he was intercepted in a series of conversations with the brothers Astrit and Altin Avdyli as part of the investigation known as "File 339", they are accused and found guilty in the Special Court for a series of charges including drug trafficking.
Dokumente hetimore dhe përgjime të siguruara nga BIRN dhe të publikuara në Janar 2019 ngritën dyshime se anëtarët e grupit Avdyli u përfshinë në blerje votash në ndihmë të Dakos gjatë zgjedhjeve parlamentare të 25 qershorit 2017. Dako i ka mohuar akuzat. Madje në një intervistë televizive në emisionin ‘Opinion” ai pretendoi se ishte i pastër. “I shikon këto duar ti, janë akullore këto”, tha Dako duke iu drejtuar një prej bashkëbiseduesve gjatë një bisede në tetor 2018.
Prokuroria pati njoftuar hetime ndaj Dakos për tjetërsimin e votave në vitin 2017, por rezultati i hetimeve nuk u mor vesh asnjëherë. Më herët në vitin 2016 Dako u përfshi në lirimin kontravers të Lulzim Berishës, i njohur si kreu i bandës së Durrësit, i shpallur në kërkim nga SPAK për disa akuza.
In July 2019, Dako was placed on the list of "non-women" persons by the State Department. According to the announcement distributed then, the Secretary of State imposes this sanction: "When there is reliable information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or have violated human rights." Dako described the punishment as unexpected.
Apparently, he has withdrawn from active politics, but the opposition has claimed that he was involved and continues to be the leader of the socialist villages in the city of Durrës, including that of May 14. Prime Minister Edi Rama, asked about his attitude towards Dako after declaring him "non grata", publicly promised him permanent friendship. "Even if he goes to prison tomorrow, he will be my friend," said Rama. Reporter.al