From Veli Haklaj
Memorie.al / One of the most discussed problems in the journey of the Albanian state is the history of the gold that was administered in the financial institutions of the state. This especially in the moments of regime changes, in 1924, 1939, 1944, 1990, 1997, etc. However, it must be acknowledged that among the most discussed events, but also addressed in numerous papers and studies, is the departure of King Zog from Albania (April 7, 1939) and the accusations that have been systematically made against him for the “robbing” of the state’s gold . This event will be the main object of this paper that we bring to the readers of the “Mapo” newspaper, where the testimony given in a letter by the former officer of the Albanian Kingdom, Gjon Fusha, is of interest.
The flight of Fan Nol’s government and the sums of money taken from the state treasury
After a six-month government, with the Triumph of Legality in December 1924, Fan Nol’s government was forced out of the country. Since December 22, 1924, due to the pressure of the armed forces led by Ahmet Zogu and Musa Juka, from the North wing, and Koço Kotta and Myfit Libohova, from the South wing, seeing it impossible to keep power, Noli and the cabinet his family settled in Vlora. In the newspaper “New Albania”, it was written: “The government left Tirana, gathered in Vlona, which was declared the permanent capital of the Albanian State”.
On the last day of their stay in Albania, the governors of Noli took care to receive from the state treasury, significant sums of gold francs. In the last meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Vlora on December 25, 1925, directed by the Prime Minister, Emzot Fan Noli, with members; Minister of World Affairs, Qazim Koculi, Deputy Minister of Finance Av. Stavri Vinjau and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sulejman Delvina, it was decided that the Directorate of Finance of Vlora would pay the salaries of the employees of the center and the districts, based on the certification that would be made by the Deputy Minister of Finance, calculating them for the counter of the general cash register, as well as various. This decision was forwarded for notification and action to the Vlora Finance Directorate, by the Deputy Minister of Finance Av. Stavro Vinjau, where it was ordered that payments be made by officials under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance.
List of payments made on December 25 and 26, 1924 to dismissed employees
- Angjelin Suma, Director of Accounting at the Ministry of Finance, 580 gold francs.
- Mustafa Kallamishi, 326.10 gold francs.
- Mehmet Bilali, captain of the boat, 434.75 gold francs.
- Lieutenant Colonel, Ismail Haki Tatzati, Major Rexhep Berati and Major
- Ibrahim Jakova, 60,000 gold francs.
- Lieutenant Alex Plumi, 9,241 gold francs.
- Ministers salary, 3,900 gold francs.
- Xhemal Bushati, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, 5,000 gold francs.
- Xhemal Bushati, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, 3,000 gold francs.
- Llazar Fundo, chairman of the “Union” Commission, 1,608.70 gold francs.
- Prime Minister Fan Noli, car expenses, 300 gold francs.
- Qazim Koculi, Minister of World Affairs, 375 gold francs.
- Qazim Koculi, Minister of World Affairs, 41.50 gold francs.
- Sulejman Delvina, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 240 gold francs.
- Stavro Vinjau, for Bahri Omar, 1,000 gold francs.
- Sulo Bodga and Ibrahim Dedeja, 960 gold francs.
- Petro Pekmezi, official of the Ministry of World Affairs, 171 gold francs.
- Vangjel Papa, secretary of the Military Court, 400 gold francs.
- The Prime Minister’s driver, 152 gold francs.
- Mustafa Banka, protocolist of the Ministry of Education, 380 gold francs.
- Zyber Bakiu, secretary of the Ministry of Justice, 475 gold francs.
- Bilbil Rustemi, Prime Minister’s policeman, 266 gold francs.
- Lawyer Mihal Lehova, member of the Political Court, 350 gold francs.
- Shefqet Kulleçi, protocol officer of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 342 gold francs.
- Haki Mulleti, III secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 475 gold francs.
- Ali Sulejmani, communication expenses, 300 gold francs.
- Brahim Sula, for the transport of the army, 326 gold francs.
- Kostantin Kota, Parliament clerk, 285 gold francs.
- Serafin, Parliament stenographer, 380 gold francs.
The amount of 92,309.15 gold francs
Tirana Treasury of Finances
- Beqir Rusi, subprefect of Tirana, 684 gold francs.
- Mustafa, telegraph operator in Tirana, 304 gold francs.
- Ethem Bolena, policeman in Tirana, 266 gold francs.
- Bexhet Neim, policeman in Tirana, 266 gold francs.
- Mazhar Sopoti, secretary of the Court of First Instance, 266 gold francs.
The amount of 1,786 gold francs
The treasury of the Finance Directorate of Durrës
- The prefect, Mr. Riza Dani, 1,326 gold francs.
- The sub-prefect of Shijak, Musa Maci, 957.60 gold francs.
- Ali Fërtuzi, chief secretary of Durrës, 237.50 gold francs.
- Luigj Zaja, protocolist of the Prefecture, 413.25 gold francs.
- Muharrem Geçi, commissioner of the Durrës Police, 1,099 gold francs.
- Kasem Durrësi, cadastre clerk, 551 gold francs.
- Shaban Belegu, Shijak’s teacher, 342 gold francs.
- Rexhep Dizdari, director of the Shijak School, 190 gold francs.
- Ali Tattari, secretary of the Peace Court, 100 gold francs.
Amount 5,278.60 gold francs
Finance of Shkodra
- Riza Dani, for the Finance Directorate of Shkodra, 40,000 gold francs.
Finance of Dibra
- Qazim … (the amount is not reflected)
Finance of Elbasan
- Tromara, prefect of Elbasan, 1,306.25 gold francs.
- Hysen Prishtina, subprefect, 812.25 gold francs.
- Demir Kodheli, the director of Peqin School, 418 gold francs.
- Ahmet Burburja, teacher of Elbasan, 551 gold francs.
- Mahmut Çela, treasurer of Finance, 455.90 gold francs.
The amount of 3,543.40 gold francs
Finance of Gjirokastra
- Hil Mosi, prefect, 183.35 gold francs.
- Zezai Çomo, for scholarship, 680 gold francs.
- Zezai Çomo, for scholarship, 293.45 gold francs.
The amount of 1,157.80 gold francs
- Koço Çipi, sub-prefect, 812.25 gold francs.
Finance of Kavaja
- Qazim Mulleti, sub-prefect 410.40 gold francs.
Finance of Lushnja
- Naun Priest, teacher, 114 gold francs.
Total amount (General treasury + local treasury) 146 376.20 gold francs.
Payment for the propaganda of the Society “Bashkimi” and Beqir Valterin
Fan Noli and his supporters took care to have financial resources with them to cover the propaganda in support of their political goals. The correspondent from Tirana of the newspaper “Shqipëri e Re”, on January 4, 1925, announced: “Mr. Llazar Fundo, received in Vlora from former governors 8,000 fr. gold and 1,000 lire, to continue the “Union” propaganda in Italy.
One of those rewarded was the assassin of Ahmet Zogu, Beqir Valteri, whose; “The former governors gave him 6,000 fr. gold as a reward for the services he had rendered.”
The dignified behavior of Bajram Curri
The attitude of the ‘Old Man of the Mountains’, Bajram Curri, would be completely different. If in this period, his political orientation was not the right one; his relationship with state finances expresses the essence of his noble spirit. According to Father Valentin, “when at the end of 1924, the Government (of Noli), which he had served with all his heart and with all his courage and strength – without reward as always – was about to disappear, someone told Bajram that it would be very easy to get eight thousand napoleons, which were kept in the treasury, so as not to leave it in the hands of the opponents, and to have the means to continue to stand. The brave man did not answer other than: “I don’t leave my face black”.
Ahmet Zogu and the gold of the Albanian state
Every time the invasion of Albania, on April 7, 1939, is remembered, in the memory of every Albanian, the accusations made against Ahmet Zogu, for the “robbing” of the gold of the Albanian state, come to mind. This is thanks to the intensive propaganda of the communist regime, but also to the extended limbs of this regime during the years of democracy. In the following, we will present some key moments about this problem, bringing to the reader an unfounded accusation against Ahmet Zogu, for embezzlement of gold francs, during the period of the June 1924 revolution.
Reporting by “Albanians of America”
Ahmet Zogu was also accused of taking money from the state coffers when he left Yugoslavia, after the “June Revolution”, 1924. Under the title; “Zogolli kidnapped the Ark and robbed the people”, the newspaper “Alxiptari i Amerika” reported: “After a news from Tirana, Zogolli, before escaping (to Yugoslavia), forcibly separated from the people of Tirana, 100,000 gold francs, from Durrës 60,000 gold francs and completely emptied the state treasury”! Of course, this news was part of the propaganda of political opponents, because in the political process, developed at the Political Court during the time of Fan Noli’s government, July – August 1924, there is no accusation against Ahmet Zogu, or the other dismissed officials with him in Yugoslavia, for financial abuses.
The gold that Ahmet Zogu had with him, according to Gjon Fusa
In the Central State Archive, in fund 165 (Albanian Fascist Militia), year 1939, file no. 2, entitled: Information from a former Zogist officer, on the escape of Zog and his suite in April 1939, as well as the corresponding amounts of gold they took with them. In the file there is only one sheet, a letter, drawn up in the Italian language, handwritten, by the former officer Gjon Fusha, dated April 10, 1939, and dated April 11, 1939. In this letter addressed to one of the representatives of the Italian invaders, John Fusha informs:
I am informed by reliable sources that on 08.04.1939, the luggage of King Zog and his entourage to Greece were checked by the Greek authorities and they found: 250,000 gold napoleons for King Zog, 60,000 gold napoleons for Abdurrahman Mati , 40,000 gold napoleons for General (Xhemal) Aranit, 40,000 gold napoleons for the ministers, Musa Juka, etc. etc. His suite consisted of: His cabinet staff, General Araniti, Colonel Hysen Selmani, Colonel Shefki Shatku, Colonel Fiqri Dine, Colonel Ali Riza, Lieutenant Colonels Komani and Osman Gazepi, Lieutenant Colonel (Sami) Koka, Major Sidki Shkupi, Major Sabri Gjilani , Major Allaman Çupi, Captain Ndre Kurti, Captains Hasan Kupi and Xhemal Herri, Lieutenant Hasan Kaloshi, Lieutenant Beqir Zeneli and many other low officers. Many officials said to (King Zog): “Please, let me come with you”, but he replied: “No, go back, because with me you will suffer, I will not provide you with anything other than bread and housing”, and so most of the officers have returned. Those who followed him and are in Greece with him are all desperate. His assistants are colonel Selmani and lieutenant colonel Sami Koka….”!
The gold that Ahmet Zogu officially took with him, according to Hysen Selman
About the amounts of money officially taken with them by King Zog and his followers on the trip to Greece, the King’s adjutant Hysen Selmani sheds light, in the book “Nga notitem e Zogut I – King of the Albanians”. According to Hysen Selman, on April 12, 1939, the Albanian Royal Government, headed by Prime Minister Koço Kotta, withdrawn from the war with Italy in Larissa (Greece), met to discuss the situation of personnel located in Greece and Yugoslavia, withdrawn from war. This is to help you with food and housing, from the money withdrawn from the state coffers, on April 7, 1939, until a way is found for their adjustment. The Minister of Royal Albanian Finance, Kol Thaçi, presented to the Ministerial Council, the statement of the amount withdrawn on April 7, 1939, from the State coffers, as well as the breakdowns surrounding the withdrawal as noted:
On April 7, 1939, 23,000 gold napoleons and 40,000 paper napoleons were withdrawn.
Spent in Tirana, on April 7, 1939: 1,000 paper napoleons.
Spent in Kapshtica, on April 10, 1939: 8,000 paper napoleons.
Remained in the treasury: 23,000 gold napoleons and 31,000 paper napoleons.
The Ministerial Council, after studying the overview presented by the Minister of Finance, Kol Thaçi, decided to form a commission, to compile the lists of personnel, as well as the allocation of help to cope with the food and housing situation. This, for as long as they had the opportunity to arrange your living, where they had to stay.
Commission to arrange payments:
Chairman, Minister of Finance, Kol Thaçi;
Member, Speaker of the Parliament Hiqmet Delvina;
Member, Minister of Education, Abdurrahman Dibra;
Member Colonel for the Army Hysen Selmani;
Member President of the State Council, Mirash Javaneu (Ivanaj);
Secretary of the Ministerial Council Stavri Stavro.
The commission compiled the allocation of the amount to be given to them and presented it to the Ministerial Council for approval. The sum contained: Personnel in Larisa, 9,000 gold napoleons, Personnel in Follorina 2,000 gold napoleons, personnel in Yugoslavia 3,000 gold napoleons; a total of 14,000 gold napoleons. The Ministerial Council, after carefully studying the lists of personnel, together with the specified amount presented by the commission, although they seemed excessive, especially in gold, where it provided for the payments for 6 months of the Royal Legations in Paris, Turkey, Egypt and eventually others, but after finding no way to save, he accepted and confirmed the payment.
Prime Minister Koço Kotta,
Speaker of the Parliament, Hiqmet Delvina
Minister of Justice, Faik Shatku
Foreign Minister, Ekrem Libohova
Minister of Finance, Kol Thaçi
Minister of the Interior, Musa Juka
Minister of Agriculture, Rrok Gera
Minister of Education, Abdurahman Dibra
President of the State Council, Mirash Javaneu (Ivanaj)
Secretary of the Ministerial Council, Stavro Stavri
Investigations of the State Treasury Verification Commission
-Creation of the parliamentary committee in 1991-
In the Parliament resulting from the elections of March 31, 1991, a special commission was set up to verify the State Treasury from 1938 – 1990. The Treasury Verification Commission consisted of nine members: Blerim Çela, chairman, as well as members with deputies of various parliamentary forces, such as; Shkëlqim Cani, Gëzim Luli, Thoma Miço, Vehbi Gruda, Qemal Disha, Teodor Keko, Sami Kushta and Behadir Bakalli. In the report of this commission, it is informed how the different regimes acted in Albania, in the period that included the object of the investigation.
The report of the commission for the verification of the State Treasury
The task entrusted to the Commission for the Verification of the State Treasury could not be carried out without going back to the verification of documentation before 1938. The material, after being seen by the commission, was consulted with the General Directorate of the State Bank, as well as with Ministry of Public Order. Regarding the object of this work, from the report of this Commission, it results that; with act no. 7866/2, dated 23.10.1937, was opened at the local National Bank, for the account of the Royal Court of King Zog: “Relative barren metal-gold account in custody”, in which, from time to time, gold shipments from the income were entered customs from the lowest exchange rate with banknote. The entire amount of gold deposited in this account, from 23.10.1937, until 05.02.1939, amounts to 643,535 gold francs, equal to 32,426 napoleons of gold, or 209.2 kg. gold Of these, 200,000 gold francs, or 20,000 gold napoleons, were used, which were spent by King Zog, on the occasion of his marriage and the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Monarchy. The balance of 448,535 gold francs, according to the statements of the former Minister of Finance, Kol Thaçi, was for King Zog’s account.
With the authorizations 2031/65 and 2031/79, respectively dated 31.03.1939 and 03.04.1939 of the former Minister of Finance, Kol Thaçi, the coins on deposit of 448,535 gold francs were withdrawn from the Bank, with the order to keep ready against a sudden demand, which might be made by King Zog. On the evening of April 6 and finally on the morning of April 7, 1939, by order of former minister Kol Thaçi, the entire amount of 448,535 gold francs had to be handed over to King Zog himself. Director of the Treasury, Mr. Kel Naraçi, in relation no. 73/1, Prot. dated 05.06.1939, presents the following facts about the financial actions taken: “The undersigned (Kel Naraçi) and the general treasurer, Mr. Ramadan Berberolli, they are waiting in the office according to the phone call of the former prime minister. After a few minutes, a Palace car arrived at the bank accompanied by two soldiers and a lieutenant of the Guard, named Selim Gjoçi, who invited the signatory (Col Naraçi) and the general treasurer, Mr. Ramadan Berberolli, to accompany him to King Zog, with the entire amount of gold coins, which was taken out of the treasury under the supervision of lieutenant Selim Gjoçi, was put into the bags in the amount indicated above (448,535 gold francs), and which, according to the statements of the former minister Kol Thaçi, would be handed over with minutes signed by the members of the Ministerial Council who had gathered at the house of Mr. Kostaq Kotta, where we found King Zog, among the ministers; Musa Juka, Ekrem Libohova, Faik Shatku and Abdurrahman Matit, Xhafer Ypit, Sotir Martinit, Allaman Çupit, Ndoc Kurtit, Jani Dallamanga, Milto Noçka, etc.
In their presence, we released to the side, where King Zog was sitting, the 13 vests that held the gold coins, in the types and quantities shown in the attached confirmations…! In the house, phone calls, orders, nervousness and fighting attitudes could be heard, in an impenetrable mess and tension…! Meanwhile, as the airplanes were flying overhead, King Zog, with the members of the Council on his side, went to the house of his brother, Xelal, hastily taking with him the gold that was on his side. In this case, the cashier Ramadan Berberolli was told to go back to the office, accompanied by lieutenant Selim Gjoçi, to tell him what was in the cash register, such as; coins, banknotes, gold, etc., to deliver to King Zog and to take them to Xelal’s house. Mr. Ramadan Berberolli delivered 118,195 gold francs to Mr. Xelal Zogu’s house and stayed at Mr. Xelal’s house, until he received a receipt from King Zog, for the entire amount of gold and coins, which amounted to 566,975 gold francs. . Only after counting and running away, after many efforts, Major Allaman Çupit, the King’s favorite adjutant, was taken to sign for him, a receipt (receipt) as the attached copy”.
Faik Quku, in the book “Albanian Attitude during the Second World War 1”, gives the story of this issue, referring to the former Speaker of the Parliament Hiqmet Delvina: “When they left Albania, the King took note of the entire state of the treasury of the Ministry of Finances: 30,000 gold napoleons and 18,000 Albanian napoleons, to pay the clerks and officers who were fleeing with him. Also, he had also received the treasure of the Albanian Red Cross, about 2,500 gold napoleons. From this money in Laria, he paid the salaries of the officers. Through the princesses Adile, he sent 8,000 Napoleons to the refugees in Yugoslavia. All this, together, about 8 thousand Napoleons …”!
And Ylli Polovina, in his book “Bird, why did he leave”, brings this explanatory statement of Ahmet Zogut, about the way he acted with the Treasury: “It was better that I took them than to leave them in the hands of Mussolini…”! According to Polovina, Prince Leka I stated that: “The value received in the National Bank of Albania was only the Treasury of the Crown, while the State Treasury was located in an Italian bank in Rome”.
In an extended treatment in a paper for the “55” newspaper, the historian Kastriot Dervishi, concludes that as a whole, it must be said that King Zog withdrew from the coffers of the Albanian state, in the presence and with the approval of the Council of Ministers, the approximate amount of 567 thousand gold francs, which constituted 183 kilograms of gold. It should be remembered that the annual salary of King Zog was 500 thousand gold francs. Meanwhile, the amount profited from the sale of a forest in Mat also went in his favor. This amount, which King Zog took with him, a little more than a year’s salary, was used to pay the salaries of the people who accompanied the King and diplomats (such as Faik Konica), who continued to be recognized as representing the Albanian Kingdom, in the countries where they were accredited. Memorie.al