A joint Kosovo-Albanian police operation against suspected bribe-taking at border crossing points resulted in dozens more detentions on Friday morning.
Kosovo Police Inspectorate during operation of arrests at Kosovo- Albania border crossing point of Vermica. Photo: BIRN
Kosovo and Albania authorities said they detained more than 50 police officers from both countries at the Vermice border crossing point as part of a police probe into bribery and corruption.
Friday’s operation brings the amount of arrested and grilled police officers to around 100. A month earlier, Kosovo Police arrested 48 border police and two customs officials on allegations of accepting bribes at two other Kosovo-Albania border crossing points, Qafe e Prushit and Qafe Morine.
“This investigation is being undertaken in close coordination and under the leadership of the Special Prosecution and includes covert investigative measures,” Kosovo Police Inspectorate said on Friday.
According to the Police Inspectorate, the investigations started last year.
BIRN has learned that 26 police officers from Kosovo have been arrested during the operation. Albania’s Special Prosecution Against Corruption and Organized Crime SPAK said it had arrested 17 police officers. Three police officers have been suspended while 14 officers and citizens have been put under house arrest as part of the operation.
SPAK said they were suspected of abusing the office, passive corruption and exercising illegal influence on public officials.
SPAK said it had documented 312 episodes of corrupt acts by border police. They include allowing the import of smuggled goods, allowing people to traffick vehicles and helping various persons with legal problems to cross the border to enter or exit EU countries.
“The illegal actions consisted of numerous cases of corruption committed continuously during the exercise of duty by these employees, forcing Albanian and foreign citizens to pay different amounts of money for passage from Albania to Kosovo and vice versa,” SPAK said.