Next in Line, Former Deputy Minister of Interior Questioned on Links with Habilaj Gang
PS deputy and former Deputy Minister of Interior Elona Gjebrea has been interrogated by the Prosecution of Serious Crimes, after suspicions have arisen about her interactions with former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri and the Habilaj brothers.
Despite Gjebrea’s declaration on News24 in which she denied being questioned by the prosecution, Exit has received confirmation from secure sources that Gjebrea has made a declaration at the prosecution related to her presence in the company of several persons suspected of international drug trafficking.
Meanwhile, sources from Italy close to the Prosecution of Catania confirm to Exit that during her time as deputy minister under Tahiri, Gjebrea is suspected of having at least once been in the company of the Habilaj brothers. Italian prosecutors have also received confirmation from their Albanian counterparts that Gjebrea has at least accompanied Tahiri on his private trips to Greece. It is suspected that this trip was made to support the criminal activities of the Habilajs.
However, the Prosecution of Serious Crimes has so far released no information about the role of Gjebrea in their investigation, and has refused to answer on the record to Exit’s question whether she has been questioned.
Gjebrea, who cannot be arrest on account of her parliamentary immunity, served as a deputy under Tahiri from 2013–2017. Officially her portfolio included the battle against trafficking and she served as national coordinator for the Battle against Human Trafficking.
Her nomination in 2013 as deputy minister at the Ministry of Interior was unexpected, considering her academic career in the fields of biology and demography. During her tenure she kept a low political profile, and emerged in 2017 election at the head of the Socialist Party list for Tirana, where Tahiri was election coordinator and chairman of the PS.
US Ambassador Donald Lu ought to be mentioned as another influence on her rapid rise within politics. During an event in 2016, Ambassador Lu praised Gjebrea as a “personal hero”:
Another hero of mine is Deputy Minister of Interior Elona Gjebrea. She has fought every year to improve the work of the Albanian government in the battle against human trafficking. She has secured more money for non-governmental organizations, employee wages, education of the police, and youth activities. Her efforts will make a difference every day.
Exit, Tirana, Albania, November 26 2017