Albanian Prosecutors to Quiz Former Energy Chief

Albanian Prosecutors to Quiz Former Energy Chief

Arben-Seferi-480x288The former director of Albania’s electricity distribution network operator, Arben Seferi, is being referred to prosecutors on suspicion of costing the state 9.7 million euros through suspect energy purchases.

The Supreme State Audit said in a statement on Saturday that Seferi, former director of Albania’s electricity distribution network operator OSHEE, and two other former high-ranking officials at the form are being referred to prosecutors for further investigations after an audit found procedural irregularities in procurements of electricity from private companies in 2014.

“Due to the lack of adequate implementation of the procedures for the purchase of the electricity… during the January-July 2014 period, we have identified 9.7 million euros in costs [to the state],” the statement said.

“The purchase of the electricity was made higher prices than those of the market,” it added.

BIRN revealed in October 2014 that the Competition Authority of Albania had launched a probe into the power utility OSHEE following complaints filed by another electricity trading company.

Electricity trading company GEN-I Tirana claimed that OSHEE’s uncompetitive and illegal practices cost taxpayers millions of euros.

GEN-I Tirana alleged that OSHEE secured illegal profits for two other energy firms, GSA and EFT, “by helping the two operators to harmonise their bids… and by exchanging confidential information with these operators on the latest and best offers placed by other operators, among them also GEN-I Tirana,” it claimed.

The Supreme State Audit said in its report that electricity procurements and other irregularities had cost Albanian taxpayers about 32 million euros. It also said that had encountered resistance from OSHEE during the 2014 audit and was only able to complete it this year.

Arben Seferi was nominated CEO of the utility on October 2013 and resigned on December 2014.

The procurement of electricity imports had been rife with allegations of corruption since 2000, when Albania become a net electricity importer for the first time.

Albania imported 2.8 billion kWh during 2014 at a total cost of 155 million euros.

Since 2002, Albania has spent 1.3 billion euros on electricity imports.

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