A former Albanian environment minister, seven other officials and four businessmen were sentenced Monday to prison terms in connection with bribery over a contract to build an incinerator in western Albania, court officials said.
The Special Court on Corruption and Organized Crime in the Albanian capital, Tirana, sentenced former Environment Minister Lefter Koka to six years and eight months imprisonment on charges of corruption, abuse of power and money laundering. He also was barred from holding public posts for five years.
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Koka, 59, who was environment minister from 2013 to 2017, also served as a lawmaker and before that as mayor of the western port city of Durres, had been accused of accepting a bribe of 3.7 million euros (then $4.1 million) for the incinerator contract in the western city of Fier.
Koka will appeal the verdict.
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The court also sentenced seven other officials and four businessmen to prison terms ranging from two to eight years on similar charges.
All of the defendants played a role in the concession contract on the Fier incinerator. Criminal cases in the tiny Western Balkan country also have launched for two other recently built incinerators, which allegedly have turned into a corrupt source of income.
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Corruption has long plagued Albania’s transition to democracy. A judicial reform, approved in 2016 with support from the United States and the European Union, created new institutions meant to address corruption, including the court that issued Monday’s verdict.
(this story has not been edited by TSA Mag staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)