USA: Kulicaj, crime connections
The promotion of Hysni Burgaj as General Chief of the Albanian Police
and the changes he undertook only one week after taking duty, by
replacing almost every police chief in Albania, has been treated in a US
Embassy cable that was published on Wikileaks.
“The surprising changes in the Police show that he is untouchable”, says the title of the cable sent on 25 November 2009, referring to the promotion of Agron Kulicaj. The sudden changes in the police, even to that of the Albanian Border, have been criticized by international donators, such as PAMECA, which had trained the police agents that were discharged.
Some of the donators believe that the changes were in full accordance with the rules, but they expressed their concern for the Director of Intelligence, Agron Kulicaj, who remained immune to Burgaj’s changes. Quoting other sources, the US Embassy says that Mr. Kulicaj is corrupted and the international donators had refused to help the Albanian Police when he was on charge.
The writer of this cable underlines that Ambassador Withers has expressed his concern for the corruption in the highest ranks of the Albanian Police, including even the Interior Minsiter Lulzim Basha, quoting the concerns of ICITAP regarding Mr. Kulicaj and the Police Chief, Hysni Burgaj. But Burgaj had declared that Kulicaj had strong ties with the Prime Minister Berisha, and every attempt for removing or transferring him should come from the Prime Minister himself.
The cable has other scandalous details, if they are true, for high rank police leaders such as Mr. Kulicaj.
“We have reasons to believe, same as other US Intelligence Agencies, that Kulicaj’s corruptive practices are known by now, but there are voices in the Police who say that Kulicaj himself has helped Dritan Dajti to escape from the Police operations that aimed to arrest him.”
Quoting sources from the Albanian Police, the US Embassy has transmitted their concern for Kulicaj to the US State Department, saying that the police undertook the operation for arresting Dritan Dajti in August, exactly when Kulicaj were outside Albania, leaving him no chances to help him escape”.
The concluding comment of ambassador Withers in this cable shows the difficult position of the Police Chief in front of his dependent Agron Kulicaj:
“Burgaj declared that he has his own problems with Kulicaj and others who have been suspected for corruption and connections with the organized crime. Mr. Burgaj has been intimidated by Kulicaj, since he has close relations to the Prime Minister, as his former bodyguard. Burgaj suggested that the concerns of the US Embassy for Kulicaj should be presented to the Prime Minister Berisha, who is the only one who can decide where his former bodyguard should work”.