- October 24, 2017
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: News Albania, SEE News
Albanian prosecutors asked parliament on Thursday to remove the immunity of former interior minister Saimir Tahiri to allow them to investigate him on corruption and drug trafficking charges, the prosecution said.
The measure is a blow to the Socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama since Tahiri, interior minister for four years until March this year, led a drive to reform the police force and was initially successful in ending cannabis production in the south in 2014.
Habilaj, in phone conversations tapped by Italian police and released to Italian and Albanian media, said that Tahiri regularly made large sums of money from drug payments.
Prosecutors from the serious crimes division asked parliament to strip Tahiri of his immunity, which he still holds as a member of parliament, so they can prosecute him for drug trafficking and corruption based on a joint investigation with Italian authorities.
Parliament could make a decision in the next 24 hours.
Prime Minister Rama, in his second month of a second four-year term, said he hoped Tahiri would prove he had no links to the traffickers and that justice would shed light on the matter.
Though Tahiri was credited with energetic anti-drugs action in 2014, he is widely seen as having failed in 2015 and 2016 to stop Albania from becoming one of the biggest open air cultivators of cannabis in Europe.
Rama did not pick Tahiri, one of his closest associates, for a ministerial role in his second term.
Early on Thursday, reacting to the arrests in Italy, police in the southern region of Vlore seized almost four tonnes of cannabis in the house of an associate of the Habilaj group.
Italian police had been monitoring the Habilaj clan for four years when they arrested Moisi Habilaj this week.
24 October 2017
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