Anticorruption demands Bexheti be held criminally responsible

Saraj Mayor Blerim Bexheti’s distancing from Matka’s unlawfully built platforms could lead him to court. Of course, if the competent judicial authorities do not remain deaf to the request of the Anti-Corruption Commission to prosecute Bexheti, due to failure to comply with the requirements for legalization.

After reviewing all the case documents, the Anticorruption officials found that Mayor Bexheti had a legal obligation to refuse the legalization application for the platforms that are in a protected area in Matka Canyon, but instead kept these items in a drawer. Shortcomings were also noted with the authorized building inspector in the municipality for whom they requested to be seized, and they sent a warning to the Government to declare Matka a monument of nature as soon as possible.

Legalization applications were filed in February this year by Amet and Cemal Saiti. According to the Law on Local Self-Government, the Mayor is obliged to make decisions on administrative disputes and to take care of the environment, which in this case was not done.

“We have found that the mayor has not responded to the request even though it is the municipalities that give the permission to build locally. The mayor is competent to decide. Failure to act has violated the provisions of the Law on Local Self-Government”, said Biljana Ivanovska, chairwoman of the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption.

Her colleague Shemshi Sallai tried to relentlessly mitigate the case before reporters, stressing that “it is not about legalizing the facilities, but about not responding to legalization requests”. His boss replied instantly.

“He had a reason for that. Temporary objects cannot be legalized under the Legalization Act. I think that the abuse lies right here – not responding to the request. The mayor had all the legal grounds to say that requests cannot be accepted. That’s why the whole case is in a latent state, that is, it remains in the process, which is unacceptable”, Ivanovska replied. She emphasized that if the mayor responded to the demands and ruled that they could not be legalized, the institutions could act.

In the municipality the case was decided by an incompetent person, and Bexheti did not act either on the notification of the State Construction Inspectorate, which requested demolition, or upon the reaction of the Cultural Heritage Protection Office.  The Anti-Corruption Commission said that according to the report from the State Inspectorate, without a water management permit, no building is allowed on that location.

“The State Inspectorate has stated that the applicants for legalization of the facilities should remove the platforms. There is also a ban on motor boats at that location”, Ivanovska said.

A team from The Independent newspaper recently toured the Matka Canyon. We have noticed that the famous illegal building, which has been in the public interest for months, is gradually acquiring new physiognomy. While the institutions are arguing over who was responsible for demolishing it, the owners did not waste time, so they put up a fence on the sides. The platform is complete. There are two or three tables in the middle, but the facility still does not function as a café or restaurant. Tables serve for tourists to sit, rest, eat or drink anything they carry with them.

On the other hand, the boat business is booming, which Ivanovska talked about yesterday, the one the owners already had up and going before they started building. It’s crowded, people are queuing for a half-hour lake tour for 200 denars.

“Honestly, on Saturdays and Sundays we can’t handle the demand. On weekends, we have about fifteen tours daily. It’s not bad during the work week as well, but then, say, we have seven or eight tours”, one employee replied.

Investigation for Nefi Usaini’s pizzeria

The Anti-Corruption Commission also opened a case for DUI’s adviser in the Municipality of Ohrid, Nefi Usini, about illegal construction at the Chinar. They say that the case is being considered and that, once completed, the municipality’s conclusion will be given. Nefi Usaini has been a hot topic in the media for days. Wether it’s about illegal construction, about the deviant behavior that culminated in a physical assault on Professor Iljaz Iljazi, because as chairman of a house council he reported to Vodovod (The water utility company) that they had a water problem, and crews determined that someone had joined their network illegally.

Anticorruption has already opened a case against Useni in which it concluded that the company Nefi Ik, which applied to demolish illegal buildings in Ohrid, could not receive municipal and municipal business cases because of a conflict of interest.

“We have said that with the person who has a pizzeria illegally built at the Chinar tree, and his legal entity has applied for demolition, there is a conflict of interest. The effect is that the Mayor of Ohrid came out and said that he would respect it, “said Ivanovska from the SCPC.

Usaini has had intense appearances on television these days telling his truth. He claims to have all the documents proving that the building is legal. According to him, despite paying for 13 years for everything he owns, “everybody is getting up in his grill” because, as he claims, he is the only Albanian who owns a shop in Ohrid.

“I think there should be justice from the municipality. Let the state take measures and demolish those buildings that are next to the lake, which are threatening the city of Ohrid with the exclusion of UNESCO”, Usseini said, referring to the objects near the lake.

Did Raskovsky Break the Law?

Anticorruption also raises the issue of public procurement for the installation of the radar system for air traffic management and the role in this procurement of the Secretary General of the Government, Dragi Raskovski.

The scandal opened with the release of audio conversations and transcripts in several portals of Raskovski’s meeting with representatives of M-NAV, the Italian company “Leonardo” and a representative from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The opposition alleges that Raskovski is awarding a tender to an Italian company for the procurement of a €7m airspace management system, although the validity of the tender documentation has expired and has filed a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The government official argued otherwise – that he did not engage in unlawful acts, explaining that he was authorized by the government to attend a meeting with “Leonardo”’s officials. (NK)