The US Ambassador, Donald Lu, issued strong accusations today against both left and right wing politicians, who he charged with supporting incriminated people such as Klement Balili, the former Director of Transportation in Saranda, who has been internationally wanted since May of this year for drug trafficking in the Balkans.
Ambassador Lu declared, “Albania would be a better place if the government listened to the Office of the Advocate of the People.
Instead, politicians from the right and the left have listened to the powerful interests of corrupt businessmen, major criminals, and even drug traffickers.
How else can we explain the fact that untouchable drug trafficker Klement Balili is still free. According to the media, he has evaded 200 policemen that have been hunting for him. According to his brother, he walks freely on the streets of Tirana because, until last Friday, the Prosecutor General’s office had not ordered his arrest. Klement Balili, a former Saranda government official, represents a major failure of the police and justice system.
It has been seven months since the Greek police arrested the drug traffickers connected with Balili in Greece. He has been wanted by Greek police since then. It has been seven months since the Ministry of Justice sent staff to Greece to retrieve documents. They now have 10,000 pages of documentation.
U.S. law enforcement has been telling the Prosecutor General’s Office to arrest Balili.
For seven months, I have encouraged the police, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General to arrest him.”
“If Albania cannot catch Klement Balili, how will it go after other big fish? Who will want to work with Albania? Who will believe this is a serious country in the fight against drug trafficking?” -declared the US Ambassador. He went on further, conditioning Albania’s future relationship with the US- with the arrest of big fish such as Klement Balili.
“The United States has told Albania that our future cooperation on anti-narcotics is conditioned upon Albania arresting and prosecuting big fish, including Klement Balili.
The office of the Advocate of the People has taken on some important battles to protect the rights of common people. We hope for a future in which more leaders in the country listen to the Office of the Advocate of the People than the drug traffickers.”-said the US Ambassador.
Meanwhile, the Assembly Speaker, Ilir Meta, declared that implementing the Vetting Law without delays will help the fight against crime and corruption, further stating that the Vetting Law is not only the key to integration and the fulfillment of 5 priorities, but also a guarantee for human rights in Albania.
He appealed the Constitutional Court to rule on the Vetting Law as soon as possible.
“The success of other reforms depends on the Judicial Reform’s implementation. The Constitutional Court should make a decision to pave the way for implementing the Vetting Law. Implementation of the Law does not only serve to fight against corruption but also to guarantee respect for human rights,” -said the Assembly Speaker, putting emphasis on the importance of independent and consolidated institutions.