“Exposed: Erion Veliaj’s alleged manipulation of power as the de facto owner of incinerators”


New evidence emerges in the form of documents and correspondence that suggest Erion Veliaj acted as the real owner of incinerators, issuing orders about who should pay for dumping at the Sharra landfill and who should receive free services.

Belind Këlliçi, Veliaj’s former rival in the Tirana elections, revealed two emails from the Democratic Party (PD) headquarters. These emails indicate that inert waste was deposited free of charge at the Tirana incinerator. One email involves the company “Arlis ndërtim,” known for illegally constructing seven floors in the center near the former cinema advertisements, next to the Bank of Albania.

On June 18, 2018, a communication between incinerator employees and the Tirana municipality ordered the waiving of fees for waste disposal. This was justified by the company’s agreement to construct offices for the Tirana Municipality (documented below).

“Arlis ndërtim” was set to build a tower at the former municipal police site in Tirana, acquiring the land through an agreement that included providing three floors for municipal use.

Based on the premise of constructing a public building, the Tirana municipality ordered the company to deposit its inert waste and debris for free. However, this justification is controversial. Firstly, for the offices it would provide to the public, “Arlis ndërtim,” allegedly linked to a significant socialist ex-minister, obtained a multi-storey construction permit. Secondly, other private companies constructing public works paid for waste disposal like everyone else. Thirdly, other municipalities with relationships with the Tirana incinerator didn’t have the advantage of issuing orders for free services.

These points led Belind Këlliçi to submit new documents to SPAK (Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution Office), alleging that Erion Veliaj is the real owner of the incinerators.

To bolster this suspicion, the PD’s anti-corruption department also published a contract between three state directorates and incinerator bosses for controlling the disposal of inert waste. Klodian Mërtiri and Klodian Zoto, linked to the businesses, have reportedly benefited by 40 million euros so far. In this contract, Taulant Tusha, Veliaj’s close associate and a municipal director, signed on behalf of the Tirana incinerator, committing to control, supervise, and exchange information about waste disposal.

Based on this relationship, the Municipality issued orders for companies like Alris to receive free services. Given that the person who signed the favoring order reported directly to the mayor, Këlliçi presented an organizational chart showing that Taulant Tusha’s employee, who issued the order, is directly under Veliaj.

Supporting the idea that the incinerator provided free services for municipal interests, another email was published. In this email, Mirel Mërtiri ordered the free disposal of debris from the demolition of the National Theater (documented below).

Thus, these documents suggest that Erion Veliaj’s municipality plays the role of an owner over the incinerators’ “de jure” owners. No other mayor, whether from Durrës, Kavajë, or elsewhere, had the power to order the two Klods. Adding to this, Veliaj’s authority to decide which private company could receive free services further complicates his position in this affair./lapsi.al

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