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Scandal/ Gonxhja gave Top Channel 70,000 euros from DPSHTRR money

Scandal/ Gonxhja gave Top Channel 70,000 euros from DPSHTRR money

The purchase of the media by the government in Albania is a widespread phenomenon, which has worried the international community quite a bit. But in most cases, media capture happens with cash or with sophisticated forms, which leave no direct traces. But not in the case of the General Directorate of Road Transport Services at the time it was headed by Blendi Gonxhja.

Investigative agency Ina Media has discovered a case, not only flagrant, but also previously unheard of, of buying media with public money. According to her, in July 2022, the Supervisory Council of DPSHTRR made a decision to give the national television Top Channel, 70 thousand euros as financial support. This money was taken from the fat profits, which DPSHTRR derives from the heavy fees imposed on citizens.

"According to the decision of the Governing Council, no. 27 dated 01.07.2022 "For the approval of the annual accounts and the distribution of the net profit and the approval of the capital of the year 20211", 7 million ALL have been used in 2022 for financial support for Top Channel," it is stated in notes of the financial statements of DPSHTRR for the year 2022.

Although this fact is officially documented in the notes to the financial statements, DPSHTRR denies it. "DPSHTRR has not financed Top Channel television in any form, not even in the form of social assistance", - says the agency. Top Channel's Marketing Office did not respond to INA Media's inquiry regarding this fund.

But despite DPSHTRR's claims, this is an unheard of case before, where a public institution directly uses the profits derived from citizens' fees to give money to a national television. And in this case there are two very big question marks, the abuse of public money and the direct purchase of the media.

The General Directorate of Road Transport Services achieved a positive balance with 5.6 million euros of profits from 30.1 million euros of revenue collected from fees. The profit of 2021 was even higher, 6.8 million euros. This agency made a profit of 1.8 million euros even during the year of the pandemic, 2020, when most public and private companies suffered deep losses.

The income of the agency only last year was increased by 5 million euros, while its funds in the bank amount to 30 million euros.

"As a rule, the institutions also have management boards, which do not decide there simply to make 'points', but function to monitor the connections of the political and economic line with what the administration does, which is the executive director or the administrator. When this link is released, space is left for abuse in expenses", says Eduart Gjokutaj.

The statute allows DPSHTRR to keep a part of the profit for capital reserve and for development. Up to 15% can be allocated for employee compensation and another part for social assistance. Based on this article of the statute, the Governing Council of this agency in July 2022 has given 67 thousand euros of financial support to Top Channel television. This fact is also noted in the audited balance sheet of this agency, but is denied by DPSHTRR.

"Charity" for the largest television in Albania is not the only unjustified expenditure of DPSHTRR. In recent years, the agency has launched a plan to reconstruct most of its buildings.

In the fall of last year, DPSHTRR developed the tender to reconstruct the central building in the capital for 7 million euros. The project drawn up by the Italian architect, Stefano Boeri, and the Son Engineering firm, envisages a 7-story building (5 above and two underground), with an area of ​​6,105 m2, together with 39 parking spaces. The cost of reconstruction per square meter is calculated at 1,146 euros. This figure is almost twice as high as the cost of civil buildings in the capital, which have additional land and tax costs, and 3 times higher than the price that the National Housing Authority builds./ Kapitali.al

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