TI and the Albanian Mafia: Albanian Agency Turns NGO Funding Into Family Affair

Since 23 years: financed from a corruption EU Ambassador: Good bye!!!

Vollkommen von der Albaner Mafia übernommen ist die EU Botschaft in Tirana, wie die Weltbank und EBRD Büros: Das ist normal, denn die IEP Kosovo Miiltär Studie 2007, stellt auf 124 Seiten fest, das im Kosovo auch alle Institutionen sogar die NATO Stäbe von der Albaner Mafia unterwandert sind. Die machen lustig weiter, trotz der Kritik des EU Rechenschafts Hofes

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Investigation 17 Apr 14

Albanian Agency Turns NGO Funding Into Family Affair

Former board members and staff of the state agency established to support the civil society sector funded their own NGOs, or those headed by relatives, an investigation can reveal.

Erjona Rusi, Besar Likmeta
BIRN

Tirana

An investigation by Balkan Insight can reveal that four former board members of the Albanian Agency for the Support of Civil Society, AMSHC, awarded grants to five organizations to which they were linked directly or through relatives at the time they were in place.

The five organizations, which received 19.9 million lek (€141,000) in grants from the agency from 2010 to 2013, are the Albanian Youth Council, Transparency International Albania, the Akses Center, UET Center and the Foundation for Economic Freedom.

 

albanian-agency-turns-ngo-funding-into-family-affair

http://vis.occrp.org/Metro/view/3e370489a661b22c61b095db6439737a

Another organization linked to an AMSCH staffer, JEF Albania, also received money from the agency.

Although the sums distributed by AMSHC are significant, many established civil society organizations perceive it as corrupt and shun its calls for proposals, fearing grants will only tarnish their reputations.

Some of the NGOs funded by AMSHC are practically invisible. They lackwebsites and little is known of the projects that they implemented.

“The winning organizations in past calls were all organizations with direct or indirect connections to people inside the agency, who determined the winners,” said Gledis Gjipali, head of the European Movement in Albania, a Tirana based think tank.

“This is an open conflict of interest, which has prompted me not to apply to them,” he added.

Article 6 of the law approved by the Council of Ministers in March 2009 for the organization of AMSHC stipulates that the Agency should “guarantee impartiality during decision-making process and prevent conflicts of interest”.

The same principles are deemed mandatory in the financing procedures for grants in the official regulations of AMSHC, published on its website.

AMSHC director Rudi Bobrati has admitted that organizations headed by board members benefited in the past from grants issued by the agency.

But Bobrati told Balkan Insight that, by law, their presence on the board did not disqualify them from applying for grants.

He maintained that although there were cases of friends and relatives of board members applying for, and receiving grants, their relationship to the board did not influence the selection process.

“The law for the creation and the functioning of the agency does not forbid board members from applying for state funds with their own organizations,” Bobrati said.

“When this happens, they leave the room and do not participate in the voting process,” he added.

In January, all board members that obtained funding for their own organizations were replaced. A new director for the agency is to be nominated.

The new board members that have been nominated already come from the media and from NGOs that are perceived to be close to the ruling Socialist Party, which took power last September after June parliamentary elections.

During the election campaign, the Socialists promised to reform the agency, which they claimed had been used by the previous centre-right government to reward civil society organizations that support their policies.

Some civil society actors now complain that nomination of the new board has also been far from transparent, and the selection process was again politically orchestrated.

Conflict of interests:

According to USAID’s 2012 civil society sustainability index, Albanian NGOs remain financially weak, while the legal environment in which more than 1,600 organizations operate is ambiguous.

Established in December 2009, AMSHC was meant to boost funding for local NGOs at a time when many international donors were pulling out of Albania and the region.

Since issuing its first call for grants in March 2010, the agency has disbursed more than €2.1 million.

AMSHC’s supervisory board, which selects winning applications, is composed of nine members. Five are drawn from civil society and four come from government institutions.

Since the old board was replaced in January 2014, its composition has followed the same model, with five members coming from civil society and four from government institutions.

Board members whose organizations received AMSHC grants between 2010 and 2013 include Lutfi Dervishi, director of Transparency International Albania, TIA, and Henri Cili, founder of the UET Center and the Foundation for Economic Freedom.

Dervishi told Balkan Insight that possible conflicts of interests had made him think twice before joining the board. At the same time, he also argued that Albanian law did not forbid his organization from applying for cash.

Dervishi denied having influenced the decision process, underling that TIA received only one grant from AMSHC, and adding that he had disqualified himself from the vote when the application was being reviewed.

“We are never present at the voting process when one of our organizations was applying for a project,” Dervishi said.

“TIA won only one project, with a minimal amount of money, and plenty of organizations won much more,” he added.

AMSHC records show that TIA received two grants from the agency for a total of 3.79 million lek (€27,000).

Cili, publisher of the daily newspaper MAPO and owner of the European University of Tirana, with whom both his NGOs are associated, declined to comment about the allegations.

The Foundation for Economic Freedom and the UET Center received 4.2 million lek (€30,000) in total from AMSHC…………

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/albanian-agency-turns-ngo-funding-into-family-affair