Statement of the Chairman of the Democratic party of Albania, Mr. Lulzim Basha :

“The Italian anti-mafia has recently presented legal evidences of the drug and weapons trafficking carried by the Habilaj brothers’ gang and of the direct assistance they have benefited from the former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri.

For four consecutive years, the Albanian opposition and the Democratic Party have denounced and published hundreds of facts and evidences of the links between former Minister of Interior, Saimir Tahiri, and criminal organizations involved in the drug trafficking surge having affected the country since 2013. But, during these four years, Prime Minister Edi Rama has refused the totality of these accusations while protecting Saimir Tahiri in all of these cases.

PM Rama, has personally, muted, threatened, transferred, dismissed and imprisoned officers like Dritan Zagani who found the courage to fight organized crime albeit life-threats. He considered these whistleblowers to be criminals, while the real ones, like the Habilaj brothers, continued in full impunity their cannabis and weapons smuggling with the full support of corrupted officers and of their Minister of Interior Tahiri.

The Italian anti-mafia has confirmed the sad reality Albanians face on a daily basis since 2013.

Don’t we have now the proof that the Minister’s car was used by traffickers to travel to Italy while it was still officially registered under his name?

Don’t we have now the proof that the countless plantations and warehouses filled with cannabis were protected by corrupted cops who seem, in these wiretaps, to have helped criminals to carry sacks filled with drugs on their speed-boats?

Don’t we have now the proof, based on the same wiretaps, that criminals could even control the naval radar system from where corrupted policemen guided them, when and where to head their speed-boats to Italy?

Don’t we have now the proof, of traffickers buying thousands of euros in gifts for the Minister and his family, and even paying him up to 30,000 euros for a single service?

That Saimir Tahiri made at least 5 million euros in a month but that he also spent 20 million during a campaign?

Edi Rama protected Saimir Tahiri for four years as Rama knew that Tahiri was heading and directly benefiting from drug trafficking, through the intermediary of the Habilaj brothers and of other organized crime organizations.

The Habilaj scandal is the tip of the iceberg and the shocking truth of the narco-state built by PM Rama.

Rama did it on purpose and being fully aware of the consequences, because drug money and criminal gang muscles have been used both during the 2015 local elections and during the 2017 legislative elections. Several socialist MPs and mayors have been proven to have had a heavy criminal record. Today, via the Italian investigation, we have the umpteenth evidence indicating that drug traffickers have contributed with millions of euros to the Rama election campaigns.

Today, Albanians witnessed how deep Rama’s scheme goes into buying the elections.

That is the reason why, instead of paving the way to justice, PM Rama continues to defend his former minister of Interior by preserving with all means Tahiri’s parliamentary immunity that prevents prosecution and justice officials from doing their job.

Can you trust anymore this government and this prime minister to implement the justice reform?

Can you trust public security and order to the mafia and their elected partners in power?

Can you trust him in organizing free and fair elections when his praised Minister of Interior is caught in flagrant evidence and irrefutable facts as a crime partner having directly influences elections?

Thanks to the Italian interceptions, we have today the “corpus delicti”, the irreducible facts of the relationship between Edi Rama and Saimir Tahiri with the narcotics dark world.

There is only one reason why the Socialists MP were given the order to vote against Tahiri’s parliamentary immunity lifting. This, because Rama wants Tahiri’s house not to be controlled, his assets not to be audited, his cars not to be verified. Albeit all of this, Tahiri’s trial shall begin without delay and shall be arrested as soon as possible in order to avoid him destroying any evidence, manipulate justice, threaten witnesses, investigators, prosecutors, and judges.

Rama will defend his “protégés” like he did before with his criminal MPs, Mayors, Ministers and Senior Directors like Klement Balili. Whenever they are caught in flagrance with facts and evidences, wiretaps and photos of being part or collaborators of organized crime networks, Rama will defend them, because he is one with them.

In this context, together with other political actors and parties, from the right to the left, we have decided to create a United Opposition Front Against Crime. I thank all of these for having responded positively to the immediate call of the Democratic Party while reminding that this invitation remains open to any other political party and any other social factor and stakeholders, especially to the intellectuals of this country, civil society, the academic world, media representatives.

The United Opposition Front seeks the departure of Prime Minister Rama as the responsible leader heading this narco-state, the direct beneficiary of these mafia relations and the guarantee of the relation between his ministers and narcotics traffickers.

The United Opposition’s Front seeks the creation of an anti-mafia and electoral reform government aimed at breaking the ties of crime with politics and guaranteeing free and fair elections as the only way to restore legitimacy to the government and trust on democracy.

We call on all political factors in the country to become part of this Front to restore morality, confidence and the rule of law in the Albanian state.”