Kosovo-Albania power line scandal

The “Zeri” newspaper in Kosovo, which reported the Albanian government of intentionally delaying the construction of the Kosovo-Albania power line, published another report saying that the project might fail,...

The “Zeri” newspaper in Kosovo, which reported the Albanian government of intentionally delaying the construction of the Kosovo-Albania power line, published another report saying that the project might fail, due to the resignation of the German KFW Bank. 
Tirana, ALBANIA – News Week
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The newspaper writes that sources that are close with the involved parties say that the Germans have clearly stated that the second ranked company, the Bosnian Energoinvest, will never realize the project.
According to the newspaper, “if there will be a new tender, the German Bank will be very rigorous with the parties, since they did not stand to the previously signed agreement, by returning the entire phase of the project”.
“Zeri” quotes the director of the Kosovo Transmission System Operator, Fadil Ismajli, who confirms that if there will be another tender for the project, everything will start from scratch. According to him, every delay of the project would cost a lot to the entire region and the winning parties, adding that from this project will benefit Kosovo, Albania and the entire region.
The delay for the construction of the Kosovo-Albania power line was caused by the Albanian government, which chose as winner the Serbian-Bosnian company, ranked second in the race, and not the Croatian company that was chosen as winner by the German Bank.
The Albanian Government tried explaining this decision with the high cost of the project, despite the fact that the government has neglected the price in similar previous cases. 
Price, Prime Minister’s justification
Asked by Voice of America about the double standard in the election of companies, Berisha declared: “The distinction between the project for the new Parliament and the construction of the power-line is very large. For this object there was no jury for the price. If you see the 12 projects that were presented in the Parliament, they vary from 48 to 100 million EUR.
The jury had professors from Harward and the entire world chose the project of Mr. Priks, the cost of which was 69 or 79 million EUR, I don’t remember it very well. But when the jury decides the best project, you don’t take the price in consideration. The power line case is different. The KFW is a wonderful bank that has financed dozens of excellent projects in Albania, with the previous governments, in very good relations and us.
On this case, the matter is on the loan of this bank. There are two tenders, one for the Tirana-Pristina power line, and one for the Southern Ring.  For the Tirana-Pristina power line, one of the companies that fulfill the technical conditions has offered 8.6 million EUR less, only for the Albanian segment. If you add the Kosovo segment, it is 20 million EUR cheaper, in total.
This company has also made a more expensive offer for the Southern Ring, around 12 or 20 million EUR, and not it is expected for it to win the Southern Ring. I understand that you must not always choose the lowest price, but if the government retires from the lowest price, it will violate a rule that will be difficult to reestablish”, Berisha declared. 
Albania, a former Communist country, abandoned Communism in the 1990s but the path to democracy has been quite a bumpy one. Past elections have been criticized for not being free and fair. About 300 international observers were on hand for the recent election to test whether Albania is ready to join the European Union.
Albania has been gripped by a political crisis for almost two years. It took a serious turn at the beginning of this year when a video was made public which allegedly showed the Deputy Prime Minister Ilir Meta, asking the then Economic Minister, Dritan Prifti to intervene in a tender for a hydro-electric plant, involving a $700,000 bribe. The opposition accused the governing Democrats of corruption and rigging the national elections held in June 2009. Four opposition supporters were shot dead in clashes with police in January this year when the opposition demanded Prime Minister Sali Berisha to tender his resignation.
The Socialist Party has won 70% of local elections, winning seats in other Albanian towns and cities. But Tirana remained in contention after a month-long campaign leading up to the vote, which was marred by violence, including explosions, stabbings, beatings and death threats.
Although the opposition Socialist Party swept most of Albania’s major cities in the May 8 poll, the Socialists and the ruling Democratic Party have each claimed razor-thin victories in the mayoral race in the capital Tirana.
The recent clashes and back-and-forth allegations stem from a longstanding political stalemate following a disputed June 2009 election, one that international diplomats are pushing hard for Albanian leaders to resolve peacefully, the latest polls look set to polarize the country still further.
The country’s Supreme Court, however, declared that those elections – which returned Berisha to
power – were valid, and the ballot papers have been burnt by the Central Election Commission. Since then, tension has mounted between the government and its political rivals.

Vedat Xhymshiti | Promote your Page too

Vedat Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist and war correspondent. He has reported on a number of Middle Eastern conflicts from the Arab Spring in 2010 to the current Syrian civil war. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde ect. He is specialized in International Relations and Diplomacy. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic, a columnist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and founder of THEFrontliner.net

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