On February 27, the 10-year term of the fuel labeling concession, a concession granted by Sali Berisha's government in its last days, ended.
But, by interpreting two strange provisions in the initial contract, the company managed to extend this concession beyond February. Currently, the concession continues to collect hundreds of thousands of euros from the pockets of Albanian citizens.
The money is collected for every liter of fuel that citizens buy from retail outlets. The transfer of the service from the state to private hands in 2013 was intended to eliminate smuggling. How far it has achieved this goal is another debate.
The debate these days is the Government's attempt to extend the concession for another 10 years. For this purpose, Voxnews.al learns from sources of the Ministry of Finance that a working group has been set up.
Unofficially, it is said that the working group has ready a report on the cost-effectiveness of the concession. The result is predetermined and the sources say that the report will advise the extension of the said concession, even though ten years of fuel consumption data in Albania suggest that an amount of up to 200,000 tons per year could be smuggled into the market.
The concession was won in 2013 by the company GFI Albania with NIPT L31605014G, which is owned in 99.3 percent of the shares by the company "Petroleum Consulting Partners LLC" and Global Fluids International with 0.7 percent.
From the data submitted to the register of final beneficiaries, it appears that the owner is a Turkish citizen, Nerve Korkmaz, born in April 1968 and a close person to Sinan Idrizi.
It took 100 percent ownership of the concession on February 16 of this year after the departure of Ismail Mullet, who owned the company Petroleum Consulting LLC.
The data suggest that the transaction is not random and determined by market movements, since in order to lose track of the movement the company Petroleum Consulting has been deregistered from Switzerland and registered in Delaware, USA, known as a tax haven and the same place where before the company DH Albania was registered, which through forgery tried to win a tender of 20 million euros at Unaza e Re.
From the balances submitted to the NRC, the concession has a profit margin of at least 1.2 million euros per year, from which the state pays about 100 thousand euros as a concession fee. Buying a year from the end of the contract seems unusual.
This raises doubts that the concession will be extended and a proposal, as Voxneas.al learns, is to extend it until 2033. The decision is expected to be taken before the government starts the official holidays in August, where the report of the working group consisting of customs, the Ministry of Finance and the Concessions Handling Agency will be used as a justification.
The fuel labeling concession has been one of the concessions most attacked by the socialists in the opposition, who considered it clientelistic and favoring the Berisha government in its last days.