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Former Albanian Environment Minister Sentenced to Prison in Corruption Case

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Albanian judicial authorities say a former environment minister, seven other officials and four businessmen have been sentenced to prison for corruption in connection with a contract to build an incinerator in the western Albania.

ByThe Associated Press

September 25, 2023, 2:34 p.m.

TIRANA, Albania — A former Albanian environment The minister, seven other officials and four businessmen were sentenced Monday to prison terms for corruption in connection with a contract to build an incinerator in western Albania, government officials said. court.

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 in prison for corruption, abuse of power and money laundering. He was also banned from holding public office for five years.

Koka, 59, who served as environment minister from 2013 to 2017, was also a member of parliament and before that mayor of the western port city of Durres, had been accused of accepting a $3 bribe, 7 million euros (then $4.1 million) for the incinerator. contract in the western city of Fier.

Koka will appeal the verdict.

The court also sentenced seven other officials and four businessmen to prison terms ranging from two to eight years on similar charges.

All the defendants played a role in the concession contract for the Fier incinerator. Criminal proceedings have also been initiated in the small Western Balkan country over two other recently built incinerators, which allegedly became a corrupt source of revenue.

Corruption has long undermined Albania’s transition to democracy. A judicial reform, approved in 2016 with support from the United States and the European Union, created new institutions intended to fight corruption, including the court that delivered the verdict on Monday.

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