"From time to time, the granting of Albanian citizenship to foreigners has turned into a controversial issue due to the conditions that must be met, but there have been violations of some procedures over the years," said an editorial penned by Marjana Doda which was published by argumentum.al on Saturday.
According to it, an investigation by the journalist, Adriatik Doçi dwelling on the issuance of Albanian passports by the current President of Albania, Ilir Meta has recently been made public by local media in the context of this issue.
As the investigation claims from the swearing in as President until September 28, 2020, Meta has provided Albanian citizenship to 382 people, with an accelerated procedure, avoiding the Ministry of Interior, which prepares the files and verifies the foreigners who have applied for citizenship. For some of them perhaps it is a short and privileged "route" to enter the Schengen area without a visa, said the investigation as quoted by the editorial.
"As a journalist, but also as an Albanian citizen, this investigation prompted my interest due to the subtitle as following, 'Here are the 382 foreigners who received Albanian citizenship from Meta without being verified for security in the name of 'national interest' shocked me," said editorial's author.
Given the sensitivity of the issue after a careful check of the names of these foreigners on the list with 382 persons it was a shock to see the name of Anthony (George) Alfred Frendo, who was on the list of names that, according to this investigation, affects somehow Albania's national security, said among others the editorial.
"Knowing that Anthony (George) Alfred Frendo is the man who deserves more than anyone else the Albanian citizenship and the passport because of the extraordinary contribution he has made from 1997 until today as a priest I was disappointed. The Archbishop of Tirana and Durrës, Monsignor George Frendo, the Maltese priest, has been supporting the poor both spiritually and religiously but also as a support pillar for hundreds of families in need honors Albania for more than 23 years," stressed the journalist, Doda, who maintains that this name could not have escaped the investigative eye of journalist Doçi, considering that Monsignor Frendo has been a strong voice in defending the most important causes in the social life in Albania. "Besides others this name overturns the investigative work as it seems that everyone has been put in a "bag" making this whole investigation unserious and unprofessional."
In addition the editorial notes that unfortunately Monsignor Frendo is not the only name as a missionary in Albania mentioned in the investigation.
The Maltese missionaries in the Parish of St. Domenik in Durrës are found on this "black list", too.
Father Bernard Caruana and Jeffrey Alfred Bugeja, part of the Dominican Fathers, who are included on the list, have been working in Albania for more than 20 years. They have made a religious contribution not only to the Catholic community, but have also been close to the poorest areas in Durres, such as the Mirdita Neighborhood, Sector-Youth, Sukth, former Swamp Area, Spitall, Porto-Romano.
The state was almost non-existent for hundreds of poor families in these areas coming from the poorest and remotest parts of Albania.
In conclusion Marjana Doda of argumentum.al stressed: "Not to anathemize the investigation itself but I would like my colleague Doçi to take the job to the end by going beyond the names and verify the figure of each of them, as the inclusion of the names of the three honored missionaries in: "Persons who were provided with Albanian citizenship by Meta during the period July 2017-September 2020 avoiding the Ministry of Interior", unfortunately, shows a superficial and not at all a professional work." /argumentum.al