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Albania gets new prosecutor after slip on corruption list

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 7 Dec 2012 20:51 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Albania votes Adriatik Llalla as prosecutor general

* Previous prosecutor had stormy relationship with government

* Albania slipped 18 positions in corruption survey

By Benet Koleka

TIRANA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Albania appointed a new prosecutor general on Friday after its rankings in a world corruption index showed it slipping further behind in the fight against bribe-taking and related crimes.

The ruling Democratic Party voted in Adriatik Llalla to the post, booting out incumbent Ina Rama who was given the job five years ago but failed to live up to high expectations.

An ex-prosecutor, Llalla's appointment came soon after Transparency International said Albania ranked 113 out 176 countries in its corruption perception index, down 18 positions from last year, and on a par with Ethiopia, Guatemala and Niger.

The opposition Socialist Party abstained from voting because it feels President Bujar Nishani violated the constitution in cutting short Rama's mandate by five months.

An appellate court judge, Rama was elected for an indefinite term five years ago but constitutional changes introduced a few months afterwards limited her mandate to five years.

In his former post as inspector general, Llalla went after a government minister and a lawmaker, but little came of it.

In remarks after his new appointment, he criticised some prosecutors for siding with, rather than fighting, criminals.

"Prosecutors take decisions based on the law, they are independent of crime and politics and free to take any decisions dictated by the law and their inner convictions," Llalla said.

Rama had threatened to complain to the Constitutional Court about her sacking, but reports said she had changed her mind mainly out of concern to protect her staff.

She tried to prosecute a government minister for alleged embezzlement in connection with a road contract, but the case collapsed, with some critics blaming lack of attention to procedural rules for the failure. (Reporting by Benet Koleka, Editing by Michael Roddy)

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