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Rama asks to forgive corrupt officials, how an opposition amendment on Amnesty was misused by the SP

Rama asks to forgive corrupt officials, how an opposition amendment on Amnesty

Albanian governments in the past have taken care to exclude from the Criminal Amnesty those convicted of serious crimes, officials convicted of corruption and members of organized crime.

But unlike the amnesties of the past years, the socialist deputies in the Commission of Laws and the Ministry of Justice opened the way on Tuesday to the inclusion of public officials convicted of corruption or abuse of office in the category of beneficiaries, misusing an amendment submitted to the Assembly by the opposition .

In the meeting held online on Tuesday, the relator of the commission, Plarent Ndreca, presenting the articles of an amendment filed by the deputy of the group known as Rithemelimi, Bledjon Nallbati, also presented the amendment of article 5, where the repeal of the letter related to exemption from the reduction of the sentence of those convicted by the Special Court against Corruption and Organized Crime.

This change in the draft law gives a reduction of 1 year in prison to men convicted by the Special Court and by 1 and a half years in prison to women and minors convicted by the same court - which examines mainly criminal offenses related to corruption, abuse of office and organized crime.

The last-minute change received the blessing of the Minister of Justice, Ulsi Manja, who, when asked by BIRN after the meeting, attributed it to the "Nallbati amendment".

"The amendment proposed by deputy Bledjon Nallbati ensures the principle of equality before the law," Manja said through a Whatsapp message.

But contrary to what the minister declared, a parliamentary document seen by BIRN on Wednesday shows that the inclusion of those convicted by the Special Court in the category of beneficiaries was proposed and included in the draft approved by the rapporteur Plarent Ndreca.

The inclusion of public officials and those convicted of organized crime in the beneficiary categories of the Criminal Amnesty was denounced on Wednesday by representatives of the opposition.

Deputy Bledjon Nallbati denied being the proposer of this point and called the SP's "disinformation" the establishment of this proposal in his name.

"Any mechanism, any misinformation or misuse... is unacceptable and highlights that the amnesty proposed by them is not intended to include the layers that need it, but is intended to be used as a shield for corrupt officials, " Nallbati said.

Even the head of the parliamentary group of the Democratic Party, Gazmend Bardhi, denounced the misuse of the amendment of deputy Nallbati, which according to him was aimed at equal treatment between convicted men and women and "had nothing to do with corrupt officials".

"The aim of the opposition's amendments was to reach a consensus document for the Assembly to vote on amnesty as an act of humanity, but there was no consensual parliamentary procedure, " Bardhi said, calling Ndreca a "fraudster".

Ndreca admitted to BIRN on Wednesday that the amendment for the convicts of the Special Court was the authorship of the Commission and the Ministry of Justice, but added that the amendment also took into consideration " the purpose of the amendment of Deputy Nallbati".

"It is an amendment agreed upon in the commission together with the Ministry of Justice. Because we could not allow a person convicted of murder who has a margin of punishment of 10-20 years in prison to benefit from a 1 year reduction in prison with a person convicted of crimes against the authority of the state that are punished much less, " Ndreca told BIRN through a phone message.

The approval of the Criminal Amnesty requires a qualified majority of 84 votes and the ruling Socialist Party is looking for allies among the opposition parties to approve it. But according to political researchers, this is being done through a non-transparent practice and in violation of parliamentary procedure.

The director of the Institute of Political Studies, Afrim Krasniqi, told BIRN that in this particular case the need to secure votes and the need to divide different political groups prevailed more than the need to respect parliamentary procedure and transparency or public accountability .

"The attempt to use the initiatives of certain MPs, to deform them and adapt them to the political goal constitutes a violation of the essence of the parliamentary procedure and the transparency that the parliament should exercise," said Krasniqi.

According to him, a committee cannot deform an amendment brought by a deputy without his presence and without his approval, and it cannot make decisions on the initiatives brought to the parliament without asking the initiating party and seeing the arguments they have.

"The fact that the parliament, through the laws committee, has done this and is seeking to pass it in the plenary session is related to the political calculations of the day, rather than to an amnesty process" - he adds.

Despite the clashes, the socialists will continue with the plan to vote on the draft law in Thursday's session, where they hope to get votes from the opposition.

The chairman of the official DP, Lulzim Basha, declared on Wednesday that his group in the parliament would not participate in the session and called for "none of us to become a crutch of this corrupt and criminal act". Reporter.al

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