JANEVA’S RESULTS: OF 19 CASES, ONLY 4 FINALIZED, ONE LOST
- By the end of the mandate SPO could spend up to 12 million Euros
- The SPO has 19 cases opened, of which 14 are still active before the Criminal Court, only four have been finalized and one case has been lost
- Both GRECO and the experts dissatisfied with the work of the SPO
Author: Svetlana Unkovska
Since its establishment in 2015, Katica Janeva’s SPO has cost the state about 8 million Euros, and together with the last year the sum could reach up to 12 million Euros.
Reports analyzed by Inbox7 do not specify how much it is spent on the salaries of the SPO prosecutors and employees, but it is unofficially claimed that their salaries reach up to 3,000 Euros a month plus allowances.
DO THE CASES NEED TO BE REVISED?
Contrary to these figures, the SPO has opened 19 cases, of which 14 cases are still active before the Criminal Court, only four have been finalized and one case has been lost. The cases Tank, Trust and Trista (300) ended with jail sentences, in Tiffany it was agreed to pay damages, and SPO lost the case for Trevnik. In addition, 19 more investigations have not filed charges yet, and the opposition rejects the possibility that the SPO will still be able to press charges after the June 30, 2017 deadline.
The case Titanic is the first investigation the SPO triumphantly opened in February 2016, dealing with electoral fraud, or, as prosecutor Fatime Fetai then said, “seizing power by completely criminalizing the electoral process” in which eight people were required to be detained. Fetai then announced – no one would be spared for committing crimes, and Katica Janeva said – justice will prevail. There is still no outcome.
The SPO opened an investigation into this case in March 2016 and in September the same year it filed an indictment against five people, including Fifth Administration chief Goran Grujovski and then Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska for destroying wiretapping equipment that occurred shortly after Zoran Zaev started broadcasting the so-called bombs. There is still no outcome
At a press conference on April 14, 2016 SPO announced that it was starting a new case codenamed Transporter concerning the transport of students in the Municipality of Bitola. In this case one of the suspects was the then Mayor of Bitola Vladimir Taleski. According to the investigation in agreement with elementary school principals and several carriers, Taleski damaged the budget of about 360,000 Euros in just two school years. Prosecutor Fetai then said that transport paid that way was more expensive than the one in Tokyo. However, there is still no outcome.
- Violence in the Municipality of Centar
Violence in the Municipality of Centar or known as Shamari (Slaps) in the Municipality of Centar is a SPO case in which Nikola Gruevski was charged for the first time. This case opened in September 2016 and refers to the incidents that took place in October 2013 in which wiretapped conversations showed that events in front of the municipality were not accidental but instigated and organized by Gruevski, in which he ordered to enter the municipality forcibly and the then mayor Andrej Zernovski to get 2-3 slaps. There is still no outcome.
On April 21, 2016 SPO opened a case for the demolition of the Cosmos facility owned by Fiat Canoski, on the order of ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and in a contract with the then Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski and Gazi Baba Mayor Toni Trajkovski. The case is still pending in the courtroom, and Mayor Trajkovski demanded the dismissal of Katica Janeva after the Racket case broke out. There is still no outcome.
- TREZOR (VAULT)
The case of procurement of telecommunications equipment from the UK was opened on 28 September 2016 and it is a matter of a great misuse of budget funds. The SPO then said that three senior officials from the UBK and one chief from the Ministry of Interior illegally obtained a financial gain of about 862,000 Euros for the company Finzi. Finzi’s manager was Kosta Krpach who, in April 2016, under suspicious circumstances still unknown, allegedly committed suicide. This company also appears in the case Empire. There is still no outcome.
Abuses and damages to the state budget of around one million Euros is the case that SPO codenamed Toplik in which the prime suspect is the then Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski. It is an investigation into the sale of land for construction of a residential neighborhood Sunny City at Vodno near Sopishte. Although there were no conditions for a tender announcement for the sale of land and settlement construction, the Ministry of Transport and Communications issued a call and the Sun City Company to win the tender. After the termination of the contract, the company was reimbursed about 224 million denars plus the state had to pay damages of about 64 million denars or about one million Euros. There is no outcome for this case either.
On 20 October 2016 SPO opened the case Tenders for fixed tenders of the Ministry of Culture in favor of the company Beton Shtip worth about one million Euros. This company started operating, and the contract was concluded thereafter, as it was then pointed out, causing abuse and violating the rules of law enforcement. In this case, one of the suspects is former Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska Mileska. There is still no outcome.
On 18 November 2016 SPO announced that it was opening a case on illegal wiretapping of about 7 thousand people through the misuse of communications monitoring systems. It was for this reason that a special prosecution was set up with the task of finding out who had been eavesdropping, but also of the crimes and irregularities that resulted from these materials. In this case the former UBK director Saso Mijalkov and the chief of the fifth administration Goran Grujovski, as well as a dozen other employees of the Ministry of Interior, are prime suspects. There is still no outcome to this scandal.
The purchase of the Mercedes worth over 600,000 Euros for ex-Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is the case codenamed Tank, and the purchase was carried out by the Ministry of Interior, in which besides Gruevski, ex-minister Gordana Jankulovska and assistant minister Djoko Popovski were also indicted. This case is one of the few that have a resolution and prison sentences. Assistant Minister Popovski received 6 years imprisonment; Jankulovska received a 4-year sentence, but is still postponing it for allegedly risk pregnancy and then the Supreme again postponed it because she has a small child. Gruevski received a 2-year prison sentence, but while awaiting his appearance in prison, he fled to Budapest.
At the same time when the Tank case was opened on 24 January 2017, Tariff was also opened, which refers to abuses in the contract for the purchase of software for ELEM worth around 4 million Euros. In this case three people have been charged with abuse of office for allowing the company that later won the tender to qualify for public procurement despite lacking complete documentation. Although this case is in the final stages, there is no verdict yet.
On 28 February 2017 SPO opened a new case codenamed Trust, in which the managers of the companies Transmet, Sileks and Vato are suspected of participating in a tender for ELEM worth over 17 million Euros. This is also one of the few cases that have been resolved. The w\owner of Transmet, Sead Kocan, is serving a 4-year and 8-month prison sentence for forging documents to win the ELEM tender. Second defendant Vasilie Avirovic received only a suspended sentence of 2 years.
The case Tiffany was opened on 23 March 2017 and it concerns tax evasion by journalist Ivona Taleska, the owner and manager of the company Smart Center and the agency Smart. This case was also resolved after Taleska admitted that she had not paid tax by giving false statements in the final accounts and avoided paying over 2.300.000 denars or about 38,000 Euros through the companies and about 17,000 Euros in personal tax. A year after the case was opened, the Criminal Court sentenced her to two years’ probation and to pay the unpaid taxes and damages.
The case Total opened on 23 March 2017 at the same time as Tiffany and also refers to tax evasion, this time by journalist Dragan Pavlovic Latas. The SPO also accused him of giving false data in the final accounts and tax returns just like Ivona Taleska. Latas evaded more than 121,000 Euros through his three marketing agencies Total, Media Max and Total Media Center, and personally he has not paid a tax of about 63,000 Euros. The case Total still has no resolution.
- TRISTA (300)
The case Trista (300) was opened on 23 March 2017 and it concerns the illegal purchase of 300 vehicles for the Ministry of Interior. With this purchase the budget was damaged by about 453 thousand Euros and the only accused was Assistant Minister Gjoko Popovski. There is a verdict for Trista in which Popovski was given a high prison sentence of 9 years.
On 23 March 2017 the SPO opened another case codenamed Blackboard in which the Director of the Redzo Ruzhit Zajazi Primary School, Sulejman Dervishi was suspected and thus for the first time a case was opened against a DUI official. The case concerns an unlawful contract for the construction of a new school in the village of Gorno Strogomishte in the municipality of Zajas in the amount of 200,000 Euros. This case has not yet been resolved.
On 22 May 2017, just one month before the expiry of the statutory deadline, the SPO filed an indictment in the case Talir concerning illegal financing of VMRO-DPMNE. 11 people were charged with money laundering, out of which 9 as direct agents and two as aides. Among them is the ex-leader of the party Nikola Gruevski, followed by Martin Protuger, Kiril Bozinovski, Emil Dimitriev, Ilija Dimovski, Ivo Kotevski etc. VMRO-DPMNE’s property has been frozen and there is still no resolution.
The case Trajectory was opened on 22 May 2017 and deals with bargaining commissions during the construction of the Miladinovci – Stip and Kicevo – Ohrid road sections with the Chinese company Sinehydro. Suspects are Nikola Gruevski, Vladimir Peshevski and Mile Janakieski, as well as former state roads director Ljupco Georgievski. It is estimated that the damage to the state budget is over 155 million Euros. The section Miladinovci – Stip was recently opened and there is still no outcome.
- TREVNIK (LAWN)
On 22 May 2017 one of the last cases was opened in the legal deadline together with Talir and Trajectory, the case Trevnik (Lawn) for the construction of three villas in Zelenikovo with no construction approval. Dragan Pavlovic Latas and his two brothers Srdjan and Zvezdan were suspected. They were acquitted on the grounds that this case was not a crime.
BOTH GRECO AND THE EXPERTS DISSATISFIED WITH THE WORK OF SPO
The latest GRECO (The Group of States against Corruption) report also cites the Special Prosecutor’s Office and it states that prosecutors do not prosecute high-profile corruption and politically sensitive cases and that the criminal justice system has failed to fight corruption.
“Although the special prosecutor’s office has taken several high level corruption cases arising out of the wiretapping scandal to court, prosecutors in general have not systematically prosecuted high-profile or politically sensitive cases. Progress in this area is believed to strongly depend on whether the country’s judiciary can move towards independent and impartial functioning”, it is stated in the GRECO report.
According to former prosecutor Jovo Trpenovski, what happened to the prosecution whose work has been overshadowed creates a bad impression, especially as there are no major results in the cases.
“Lately the SPO has had no such authority as expected that we will have successfully conducted investigations and cases that will bring justice. We see that did not happen, and after all that we see in relation to those cases opened by the SPO, it is still great disappointment”, Trpenovski says.