Albania – US Ambassador Donald Lu: NBI, an Institution Supported by the FBI

US Ambassador Donald Lu asked politicians on the right and on the left to agree that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) be supported by the American FBI. The US Ambassador made these comments during the “Open Government Partnership” event during which Minister for Innovation and Public Administration, Milena Harito presented the Forum of Actors of Interest (OpenALB). In his remarks, Ambassador Lu said that Open Government Partnership is about making government more responsive and transparent by shining a light on corruption, fraud, and inefficiency.

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Then the Ambassador talked about the creation of the NBI.

“This is what we hope will be created in Albania – an independent investigative unit for combating corruption and crimes by high-level officials.  There is a proposal that this be part of the functions of the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI, modeled after the American FBI,” Ambassador Lu said.

Further on, Ambassador Lu explained that the NBI will be different because the US will invest in making it so.

“But why should regular Albanians believe these special policemen will be beyond influence and corruption? Because the United States will invest in making it so.  We have set aside millions of dollars to pay for the equipment and training for these policemen. Their training will be at the FBI Academy in the United States.  An FBI agent will be assigned to Tirana to support the creation of the organization.  And all of the NBI policemen will receive lie-detector tests and have their bank accounts monitored to ensure that they are not taking bribes or working for organized crime,” Ambassador Lu said.

According to Ambassador Lu, the NBI will be established under a special independent prosecutor.

“In footnote 13 of its final opinion, the Venice Commission welcomes the anti-corruption functions of the NBI being established under a special independent prosecutor, independent from both the Prosecutor General and the Albanian State Police.  The investigators of the NBI will be composed of judicial police. Its director for anti-corruption will be a judicial police officer who report to an independent, special prosecutor.  That prosecutor will be accountable to the Albanian people,” Ambassador Lu said.

The US Ambassador asked the Albanian politicians to agree on the model for anti-corruption.

“Political leaders are trying to use the debate over the NBI for political reasons.  They all agree that corruption and political influence prevent justice from being done in Albania. I ask those on the right and on the left to agree that the NBI is vital for anti-corruption in Albania.  I ask them to agree on the model for anti-corruption that I have discussed today – an institution supported by the American FBI, independent, and accountable to the Albanian people,” Ambassador Lu said.

Ambassador Lu said that the NBI should be created at the same time as the judicial reform.

“And I ask them to recognize that this institution should be created at the same time as the judicial reform. After all, judicial reform will create this Special Prosecution office, the SPAK, which will direct the anti-corruption efforts of the NBI. Let’s make sure that Albania passes the right law on an independent and tough anti-corruption unit,” Ambassador Lu said.

Albanian Daily News

24 March 2016