Three tenders, millions of euros, one company! ANK the owner of the Korçë-Ersekë road and the connection with 260 mln euros of Milot-Balldre

2024-02-18 17:39:36Investigim SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX
Demolition of the new Korçe-Erseke road

35 kilometers of road, 65 million euros and 11 years of time and several directors. Neither money, nor time, nor the relatively short distance of the Korçë-Ersekë road, nor the changes in the Albanian Road Authority have been enough for this axis to be completed. The recent collapse of the new road, which according to the Government's promise should have been inaugurated in June of last year, shows the rampant abuse of Albanian money on this axis.

The abuse started in June 2013, when the Democratic Party was in power. At that time, the tender was opened for the first lot of the road with a length of about 18 kilometers, which was won by the company ANK, owned by the brother of the former socialist deputy, Ndue Kola. The cost of the tender was estimated at around 17 million euros.

But, that June, more than the construction of the road, the Government of Sali Berisha opened the tender for electoral effect. Until 2017, the company failed to complete the road, while ARRA led by Dashamir Xhika, later accused of corruption on the Tirana-Elbasan and Elbasan-Gjinar roads, failed to hold him accountable. In the fall of 2017, Xhika was succeeded by Afrim Qendro, who assumed the position of the head of the ARA and opened a new tender worth 4 million euros for the first lot of the road. The justification was to correct the project and soften the slope in Qafa e Qarri.

Ironically, the directors were changed, but the winner of the Korçë-Ersekë road tenders was not. The ANK company, which had failed to fulfill its commitments on time for the construction of this road, is declared the winner in the new tender as well. With this addition, the value for the first lot of the road, with a length of almost 18 kilometers, reaches 21 million euros.

But the big abuses start with Lot 2 of the road, which was torn up and divided into two parts. The tender was launched in 2020, a year after the management of the Albanian Road Authority was involved in a transition period, where Afrim Qëndro left, then Sonila Qato and Vasilika Vjero, who stayed only two weeks in this position. 

The post was taken by Ergys Verdho, who succeeded Afrim Qëndro who resigned in January 2019. Surprisingly, even though the directors rotated in turn at the head of the ARA, even the tenders for the second lot of this road were won by the ANK company, which in the first part of the lot received 20 million euros for only 4 kilometers of road.

The same thing happened with the tender for the second part worth 21 million euros and with a length of almost 13 kilometers. But even this money was not enough to finish the road. At the company's request, the Government increased the contract for the second part with another 5 million euros through the contract modification procedure. The cost of the road exceeded 64 million euros.

But who is the company behind this road?

In 2018, the Government started talking more about the possibility of building the Milot-Balldre road with a concession, a road in plain terrain with a length of just over 17 kilometers. An offer for its construction was submitted by the company ANK. According to the company's calculation, the construction of this road on a flat terrain and moreover on the tracks of the existing road would cost about 260 million euros, or 15 million euros per kilometer.

 At the time it submitted this proposal, the company declared only 4 million euros as capital in the CKB. The question that arose was where would the money for the construction of the road be found? In the plan proposed by the company, there was talk of a 70 million euro loan from the banks, while the rest of the 190 million euro was unclear from where it would arrive.

The project failed, while the Government quietly withdrew arguing this withdrawal with the emergency caused by the tragic earthquake of 2019.


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