Court proceedings against high public officials for hiding and failing to declare their assets during 2005-2015

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Open Data Albania is investigating whether there are statistical data about cases of court proceedings against high public officials for the criminal offences foreseen by Article 257 (a)  Refusal to Declare, Failure to Declare, Hiding, or False Declaration of Assets and Private Interests of Elected Officials or Public Employees, and any other person required by law to make such declarations.

There is a special law, which requires people falling under the category of high public officials and elected officials to declare their assets and authorize public control over the authenticity of their declarations every year. The same law requires them to also make an initial declaration of all the assets they own on the day they come to office, or are allocated a mandate.

Failure on their side to comply with such legal obligation constitutes a criminal offence foreseen by Article 257 (a) of the Criminal Code. This article contains two paragraphs, the first of which refers to the refusal or failure of the elected officials, public employees, and everyone required by law, to declare their assets and private interests, qualifying that as a criminal offence once it is already found as an administrative contravention and administrative measures or sanctions are imposed. If assets and private interests are not yet declared even after such measures are taken, the failure to declare them is considered as a criminal offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to 6 months. The second paragraph refers to hiding or false declaration of assets and private interest by elected officials, public employees, and everyone required by the law to make such declarations. The criminal offence foreseen under this paragraph is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

According to the Annual Statistics of the Ministry of Justice, a court decision is taken against 67 individuals from this category from 2005 until 2015. This includes 44 decisions taken against 45 individuals for these ten years for Failure to Declare and Refusal to Declare Assets and Private Interests. For the years 2005, 2007, and 2010, there are no cases with the courts, and consequently, no one punished for any criminal offence. The year 2015 marks the highest number of court cases and offenders for this criminal offence.



Source: Annual reports of HIDACCI for 2008-2014        
Comments and Analysis: ODA

The same period of ten years consists of 20 court cases and 22 offenders punished for violation of the second paragraph of Article 257 (a), i.e. hiding and false declaration of assets an interests. The highest number of cases was marked in 2015. No court cases were registered during 2005-2007 for this criminal offence.



Source: Annual reports of HIDACCI for 2008-2014        
Comments and Analysis: ODA

The High Inspectorate for Declaration of Assets and Control and Conflict of Interest (HIDACCI) is an independent institution responsible to manage the process of Declarations and Control. This institution refers cases of alleged criminal offences foreseen by Article 257 (a) to the Prosecutor's Office. However, not every referred case is registered by the Prosecutor's Office as a case for initiating criminal proceedings.

Thus, HIDACCI referred 187 cases to the Prosecutor's Office during 2008-2014, including 114 only in 2014. The Prosecutor's Office has not initiated any criminal proceedings against a large part of the referrals made by HIDACCI, regarding the latter's allegations as not justified.



Source: Annual reports of HIDACCI for 2008-2014        
Comments and Analysis: ODA

Generally speaking, there are no court decisions finding any high officials or elected politicians guilty of having committed such criminal offences, or punishing them for that.



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    Contributer: Kejsi Kosta
    Translated by: Etleva Kondakciu
    Edited by: ODA