President Ilir Meta vetoed extension of Mother Theresa Airport concession at 13 years old, for the benefit of the Kastrati company.
In a Press statement On Wednesday, Meta said the extension made by law in parliament amounted to “legislative corruption” because it violated all legal and procedural requirements and was recipient-friendly.
In December, the sale of the concession from a Chinese company to the Albanian Kastrati was completed. Soon after, Infrastructure Minister Belina Balluku said the first time she heard about it was in the media.
A few weeks later, the government offered to extend the concession for 13 years, up from the original 22 years. This was done in exchange for Kastrati’s pledge to invest around 100 million euros in the airport, including a new runway and terminal and reduced passenger fares.
The law pass in parliament at the beginning of the month.
The President argued that the government approved the bill on January 27 and submitted it the same day to Parliament, where a meeting of leaders of parliamentary groups was called and convened to include it for a vote in the process. the next session. All in one day.
The agreement between the government and Kastrati included in the bill was signed the day before. Meta argued that reviewing the deal and submitting it to parliament in one day is procedural.
He further stated that the extension of the contract six years before its end and without open and competitive tendering is illegal, as it violates the right to free and fair competition for other companies.
Given the short time between the purchase of the concession by Kastrati and the extension of the contracts, the chairman raised the question of whether the two agreed to the extension before the purchase.
Meta claimed the government had not responded to its request for a full history of the bill drafting process.
He added that the law prohibits the government from awarding concession contracts four months before the elections.
Finally, the president claimed that one element of the agreement between the government and Kastrati, which has not been released, allows the company to use its shares as collateral for loans. This, Meta argued, poses a risk to the operation of the country’s only international airport in the event of insolvency.
The law will come back to Parliament, which can decide to adopt it in a second and final vote.