Albania ex-vice interior minister arrested for abuse of post

TIRANA, Albania — A former Albanian deputy interior minister has been arrested on corruption accusations, authorities said Tuesday.

A statement from the Special Structure Against Corruption and Organized Crime said Rovena Voda, deputy interior minister from 2017 until 2020, was put under house arrest over allegations she was bribed to favor a person seeking a position as a public official.

No more details were given.

Newly formed judicial institutions established to address corruption in post-communist Albania, which is widely seen as hurting the country’s democratic, economic and social development, are this year filing suits or putting under arrest many former senior officials.

A former prosecutor general was the first high-ranking person to be sentenced earlier this year, and many judges and prosecutors have been dismissed for alleged corruption and illegally earning property and money.

The judicial reform, which was approved in 2016 with the involvement of the United States and the European Union, introduced a vetting process for judges and prosecutors to prove their properties were legally acquired and that they met anti-corruption and professional standards. Hundreds failed the vetting and were fired.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, is looking forward to beginning full membership negotiations with the 27-member European Union later this year.