By Telnis Skuqi – Endri Keraj –
Memaliaj: If two of the Memaliaj municipal councilors, Perparim Gaxhi and Agim Skenderi, have not given the right to themselves to benefit from the economic aid, today Sofia Ajdini would have had the possibility to feed her five children. Since 2012, the unemployed Roma woman, has not left any office without being knocked to ask her rights. Since one year, Sofia is asking to benefit the economic aid. She has fulfilled all documents, but Memaliaj municipality does not have funds. “There is no place where the poor man can go and complain. I go to the municipality and they send me away to Gjirokastra. No one is giving any response”, says Sofia, 45 years old. Sofia says that her economic aid was interrupted in an abusive way by the beginning last year. Her place was usurped by the two municipal councilors, who were removed from the lists eight months later from the State Social Service.
Facsimile of the document issued for the economic aid
“My husband cannot move from his bed, he is paralyzed. I am struggling every day to earn the bread. We are seven in the family, whereas municipality discriminates me because of my skin”, says Sofia. To her, the bread is a matter of life. Her five children, respectively 13, 11, 7, 5 and 2 years old hardly fill their stomach with bread. “I have left my five children in the streets of Gjirokastra and Tepelena. They beg and they ensure their bread by themselves. This was a right that was taken from me by the two municipal councilors”, says Sofia adding that she will ask for her right up to her last breath. In addition, the Roma woman adds that the Regional State Social Service Office has opened the doors and listened to her complain. “The director, himself, Dhimiter Mejdi has intervened to verify my words. In fact they were true”, underlines Sofia.
Sofia thinks that the current situation may change. She does not have the financial means to address her problem to the justice, but she does have inexhaustible energy to put justice at place. “The two municipal councilors cannot misuse their duty and do whatever they like with the poor”, says Sofia and starts to curse them. Sofia does not have any intention to withdraw. The Roma woman wants to get the economic aid since January 2012. “The economic aid is given to the poor, and not for the councilors. They (the councilors) do not have the legal right to benefit from the scheme of social aid. The law bans it”, speaks Sofia like an expert. “I do not know to write and to read, but my problem made me learn the law by heart. Shame on both councilors that dealt with a poor woman”, she continues.
Dhimitër Mjedi, chair of the State Social Service (SHSSH) in Gjirokastra region says that Memaliaj municipality is the only local governance unit in the southern Albania where is noted serious violence in issuing the economic aid. “During an audit in Memaliaj municipality there was noted that the register containing the analytical data per each beneficiary family was not fulfilled”, says Mejdi, who clarifies that in the files of each household was missing either the family certificate, school certifications for the children over 18 years old, declaration of the economic situation or the land certificate. “At least 21 people were treated unfairly with the economic aid. They had not handed over any document verifying their economic situation”, continues Mejdi. According to him, two councilors of Memalij municipality were also receiving the social aid, Perparim Gaxhi and Agim Skenderi.
“After verifying this heavy legal violation, the SHSSH has ordered the local governance unit to urgently remove from the economic aid
Dhimitër Mjedi, chair of SHSSH-Gjirokastra
scheme the two municipal councilors and it has also requested that the amount of money benefited from the two above mentioned people be returned by them to the institution”, highlights Mejdi. The violations, continues Mejdi, have also resulted to be present at the usage of the electricity compensation fund as well. “In Memaliaj municipality, some 205 families have been compensated for the electrical power in June 2011, amounting at a fund of 787,200 Leke. In fact the documents for the beneficiaries were not correct, as there were missing the statistical evidences”, says Mejdi. Another problem, continues Mejdi, is the lack of posting of the beneficiaries’ lists at public places.
“Memaliaj municipality has never publicized the names of the economic aid beneficiaries at the public places. Lack on posting the lists automatically brings abuse with them, like it happened with the two municipal councilors”, highlights Mejdi adding that the chief of the economic aid office is the person responsible for not respecting the law, as legally he had to fulfill all the documents per each beneficiary. Furthermore, Mejdi specifies that during the audit there were identified 29 people that were unfairly benefiting the economic aid. “SHSSH has officially requested the immediate removal from the lists of these 29 people. They were abusively getting the economic aid, causing an economic harm of about 60 million old lek”, says Mejdi
According to the Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 787, dated 14.12.2005 “For the determination of criteria, procedures and amount of the economic aid”, the beneficiaries of the economic aid are those families who do not have any income or not enough, unemployed orphans over 25 years old, orphans under the ages of 18-25 who are not settled in any of the social service institutions or not being under a guardian and families with triple or more children that are in need.
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