TIRANA, March 19 Albania's prime minister sacked
the country's food safety chief on Wednesday after it emerged
that he had been arrested in 2012 for selling illicit home-made
Aleksander Kalemaj was never prosecuted, but his arrest for
involvement in a 'moonshine' operation has embarrassed Prime
Minister Edi Rama.
"After checks requested by the prime minister, employee
Aleksander Kalemaj has been relieved of his duties and no longer
serves as Head of the Food Sector at the Risk Management
Department of the National Food Authority," the agriculture
ministry said in a statement.
Rama was forced to act after Albanian media revealed Kalemaj
had been caught by police in October 2012 in possession of more
than 500 litres of illicit alcohol including brandy and beer.
The interior ministry confirmed to Reuters that the arrest -
18 months before Kalemaj's appointment as food safety chief -
had taken place.
The opposition said the affair showed weaknesses in the way
the government appointed people to senior positions.
"Edi Rama talks at length about merit and professionalism
and cites examples from Britain and France, but when it comes to
delicate jobs with great public responsibility he lets the wolf
guard the sheep," Democratic Party lawmaker Voltana Ademi told
(Reporting By Benet Koleka; Editing by Matt Robinson and Robin