Sterilization concession case in Albania: The winning company had been created just one month earlier

From the left: Ilir Rrapaj and on the right Ilir Beqaj
From the left: Ilir Rrapaj and on the right Ilir Beqaj
 Businessman Ilir Rrapaj, who owns a lion's share in the sterilization concession, was arrested by SPAK (Special Anti-Corruption Prosecution) under suspicions of fraud. He had close connections and friendships with former Minister of Health Ilir Beqaj and former Deputy Minister Klodian Rjepaj, local media say.

Journalist Klodiana Lala reports that a month after Rrapaj traveled with Beqaj and Rjepaj, he established his own company in Prishtina through which he obtained a 40% stake in the concession.

"Ilir Rapaj, representative of the entity 'Investital LLC and Umbro Staccini', representative of the entity 'Tecnosanimed srl and U.Jet SRL', who formed the concession company Saniservice, have personal connections with the suspect Klodian Rjepaj, Deputy Minister of Health, and Mr. Ilir Beqaj, Minister of Health during the preparation and completion of the concession procedure. The acquaintance dates back to November 2013, prior to the concession procedure. Ilir Rrapaj, Ilir Beqaj, Klodian Rjepaj entered Albania at Rinas Border Crossing Point with Alitalia Rome airline on June 15, 2014," states the SPAK dossier.

Furthermore, it is mentioned: "According to legal capacity documentation of Investital LLC, this entity was registered on July 17, 2014 in Prishtina with a capital of 1,000 euros by Ilir Rrapaj, just a month after traveling with the citizens Ilir Beqaj and Klodian Rjepaj. Ilir Rrapaj establishes the company Investital LLC as part of the companies competing for the 40% concession.

This company was created just a month before the order of the Minister of Health was issued on August 18, 2014, for the establishment of the concession award commission. The company had only one employee, its creator Ilir Rrapaj," the special prosecution dossier states. The voluminous material lists several trips abroad by Minister of Health Ilir Beqaj with representatives of the companies.

"Admir Daca, administrator of Saniservice company, and Ilir Beqaj, Minister of Health, left Albania at the Rinas border crossing point towards Vienna on September 25, 2016. Umbro Staccini, administrator of the winning companies of the specific concession, Tecnosanimed SRL and U.Jet Srl, and Ilir Beqaj, Minister of Health, entered Albania at the Rinas border crossing point with Alitalia Rome airline on May 23, 2017," the document emphasizes. SPAK states that Ilir Rrapaj deceived by not disclosing his acquaintance with Rjepaj, as they were friends at university along with citizen A, LL., who is the director of Saniservice company.

The Special Prosecution also highlights that Ilir Rrapaj used Rjepaj's car for trips, despite declaring no connection.

"Ilir Rrapaj entered the territory of the Republic of Albania with the vehicle TR 4112R, which is owned by the Ministry of Health. The vehicle TR 4112R had been used by Deputy Minister Klodian Rjepaj," it is further emphasized. The Prosecution emphasizes that the winning economic operators had full knowledge of the concession award procedure and the person who maintained continuous contacts with the Ministry of Health, Ilir Rrapaj.

Another serious violation found is that a specialized sterilization center had been set up within QSUT (Mother Teresa University Hospital Center), which could have been operational with lower costs than the concession, but this did not happen, even though the former Minister of Health was aware that the central sterilization department at QSUT had all the modern equipment. Later on, this center was left for private use. Regarding the sterilization concession, former Deputy Minister Rjepaj and businessman Ilir Rrapaj were arrested, while two officials were sent under house arrest, and four others, including Arben Gjata, the rector of the university of medicine, are being investigated under the obligation to appear. They appeared in court on Friday and were informed of these measures.
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