Albanian Ministry's Ad Cash Enriched One Agency
The data, obtained through a freedom of information request, FOI, show that the Ministry of Interior held six major TV ad campaigns and produced one spot in four years for a total 85,389,780 lek (€610,000).
The seven contracts awarded for the production and transmission of the adverts all went to one advertising agency, Promo Sh.p.k.
Now bankrupt, Promo was owned by the brother of Aleksander Frangaj, the owner of TV Klan.
As editor in the early Nineties of the newspaper Koha Jone, Frangaj was a foe of Sali Berisha, the centre-right President of Albania from 1992 to 1997.
In 1994, he was even imprisoned for a short period, after falling foul of Berisha and his Democratic Party.
But once Berisha regained power in 2005, as Prime Minister, Frangaj cultivated better relations, professing his support.
Although the FOI request with the Ministry of Interior was filed in October, Balkan Insight gained access to the data only last week, five months after the legal deadline of 35 days had expired.
From 2008 to 2012 the Ministry of Interior was headed by the current chair of the Democratic Party, Lulzim Basha, from 2009 to 2011, and by Albania’s current President, Bujar Nishani, from 2007 to 2009 and again from 2011 to 2012.
Balkan Insight has learned that the contracts formed part of a broad scheme to enrich pro-government media, which ran during the eight years that the Democratic Party held power.
Other institutions that were particularly generous to companies either owned by or linked with Frangaj included the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Defence and the Police Directorate.
The Defence Ministry over two years alone awarded...
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