The Special Public Prosecutor’s Office held a press conference on Monday during which it asked the Parliament and the political parties to extend the mandate in which the SPO can file new charges. According to the political agreement reached by the four largest parties in 2015, the SPO has until the end of June to open new cases based on the large cache of wiretaps it was given by the SDSM party.
The SPO also announced it is opening three new cases, one involving the construction of the two highways being build with the support of a Chinese fund, one about the funding of the VMRO-DPMNE political party and one about the allegedly unlawful legalization of homes built by a journalist critical of the SPO.
Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva said that her institution is seriously lagging in its capacity to listen to all the tapes given to it by SDSM, and that so far it has only processed about 45 percent of the materials. “This office will continue working until we investigate all the conversations which are in our possession, in order to implement the mandate we were created for”, Janeva said.
VMRO-DPMNE, one of the four parties that foolishly approved the creation of the SPO, said it opposes extending its mandate, and blames the office for being openly partisan and working in support of VMRO-DPMNE’s main rival, the SDSM party. VMRO-DPMNE underlines this with the fact that the SPO has pushed cases almost exclusively against its officials, while the one significant case against SDSM leader Zoran Zaev, that covers the illegal wiretapping and the reasons why the tapes were given to SDSM, was dropped by Janeva(!?).
In the case that the SPO opened against VMRO-DPMNE, the prosecutors said they are suspecting party leader Nikola Gruevski and 13 other persons of allowing unlawful funding of the party. Months back the SPO was questioning VMRO-DPMNE members who have given donations to the party, claiming that nearly 5 million EUR worth of donations was used improperly, to purchase property for the party or for its day to day operations. The SPO also suspects the large Beton construction company of making an unlawful donation to VMRO-DPMNE through the contract to build the new main office of the party. Prosecutor Fatime Fetai said that the SPO demands freezing of the VMRO-DPMNE property.
VMRO-DPMNE spokesman Dragan Danev said that the charges being filed by the SPO are an attempt by SDSM and its leader Zoran Zaev to shift the focus of the public attention away from is negotiations with several ethnic Albanian parties over the creation of the next Government.
“All week long Zaev will use the SPO as a smokescreen from the criminal, Tirana based Government that SDS is trying to make with the Albanian parties. The coming criminal Government will be based on personal interests and the implementation of foreign agendas, which will be aimed against the name, national identity and political order of the country. We will continue to see the overpaid prosecutors acting in the interest of Zaev and their screen-writers.
In the other case, regarding the construction of the Skopje – Stip and Kicevo – Ohrid highways, the SPO prosecutors said that four former officials overstepped their authority in the way in which they implemented the construction contracts, by submitting the bids to only two Chnese companies. According to the SPO, one of these Chinese companies was prepared to make a lower bid but the contract was signed with the Sinohydro company.
In the final case, the SPO said it is charging three persons who built homes in the village of Zelenikovo, near Skopje, without permits. Even though the SPO did not name the persons being charged, it is widely believed that this is yet another case aimed against Dragan Pavlovic Latas, editor of the Sitel TV station, which has been outspokenly critical of the way the SPO has handled itself. A representative of the Sileks company, which runs Sitel TV, was also charged in a previous SPO case, and Pavlovic himself was charged for alleged tax evasion.