In Albania, the former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj, stated today that he did not have a special friendship with the two businessmen of the hospital sterilization concession, for whom SPAK is conducting investigations, but only knew them as ministers and in the implementation of their duties state.
Mr. Beqaj published his comments through Facebook, two days after the Special Court directed the SPAK to extend the investigations to his responsibilities as a minister during the concession procedures.
The former Deputy Minister of Health, Klodian Rrjepaj and the businessman Ilir Rrapaj, are under arrest for this affair, while the investigations continue.
The former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj, denied today that he had any special friendship with the two businessmen Ilir Rrapaj and Umberto Staccini, a union of operators that won 8 years ago the hospital sterilization concession of 100 million dollars in 10 years, for which The SPAK Special Prosecutor’s Office is investigating and has made several arrests under charges of fraud, facsimile of documents and abuse of office.
In a reaction through Facebook, former minister Beqaj stated that he knew Rrapaj and Staccini after he became a minister and in the implementation of his duties as a member of the government.
He even emphasized that he only recognized the administrator Admir Daci of the concession company SaniService, a union of companies that represented Rrapaj and Staccini, the day he signed the contract.
“During my time as a minister, I met and got to know different entrepreneurs, foreign and Albanian, and for work needs I signed contracts with them. Traveling from Tirana to Rome or Vienna is the most normal thing, and if there are friends, colleagues, contractors and associates on these flights, I don’t believe this is an indication of guilt”, added former minister Beqaj.
He commented through Facebook that the matter under investigation concerns a Public Private Partnership, where a union of operators is contracted to provide equipment, environments and sterile clothing for all operating theaters in Albania, where nearly 430 are served every day surgeons.
Former minister Beqaj emphasized that the contract was successfully implemented in years, significantly improving the service, in which the contractor employed 250 people for the whole of Albania, where about 60 thousand operations are served per year.
He did not make any comment in his status about the fact that the Deputy Minister of Health, Klodian Rrjepaj, and the main operator of the concessionaire, Ilir Rrapaj, are in prison, suspected of fraud, falsification of documents, and abuse of office in collaboration. nor for the fact that the economic and legal directors of the ministry he led are under house arrest under the same charges, while the 4 commissioners of the concession are also under investigation for the same charges.
In the decision for these 8 arrest measures, the Special Court for Corruption and Organized Crime directed the SPAK Special Prosecutor’s Office to investigate criminal responsibilities and legal violations for 6 other people, the former Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj, the former Minister of Finance, Shkëlqim Cani, and for 4 commissioners of public prosecution.
The decision of GJKKO of 348 sheets emphasizes that the SPAK evidence, with which Rrapaj and Rrjepaj are in prison, evidence legal violations by the two former ministers and the 4 commissioners.
In a separate chapter, the court emphasizes in the decision that the minister is the highest authority that directs and supervises the fulfillment of duties in the institution.
In the decision of GJKKO, it is noted that former minister Beqaj and deputy minister Rrjepaj had continuous acquaintance and meetings with businessman Rrapaj since December 2013, two years before he won the hospital sterilization concession.
According to SPAK, businessman Rrapaj, former Minister of Health Beqaj and his deputy Klodian Rrjepaj traveled together by plane from Italy in June 2014, a period that according to investigations coincides with the preparatory actions of the concession.
From the SPAK investigations reviewed by GJKKO in the case of the arrest measures, it is suspected that the winner of this concession was predetermined by the leaders of the Ministry of Health before starting the legal procedures, and that the operators pre-prepared documents and adapted the legal criteria before they won.
During the investigations, it was observed the violation of the equality of competitors in the competition, artificial inflation and multiplication of prices, falsification of documents and statistics, incorrect economic calculations and legal violations, which fueled suspicions of passive corruption of high state officials.