North Macedonia’s anti-organized crime police department, upon an order of Public Prosecutor’s Office investigating and prosecuting organized crime and corruption, in coordination with Italian prosecutors in Milan, Italy, and with support of Eurojustice, conducted a police operation to expose EU fund kickback scheme.
The purpose of the operation, directed and coordinated by the Fraud Prevention, Reporting and Analysis unit in the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), was to provide evidence on two officials suspected of bid-rigging and corruption involving EU funds.
Namely, Jahi Jahija, State Secretary in the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, was arrested Monday, June 10, on charges of bribery in pre-tendering phase. He had allegedly took kickbacks to pick a winning bidder for EU funds under IPA programme, Macedonian anti-organized crime prosecutors said in a statement following the arrest.
Simultaneous searches were conducted in North Macedonia and Italy, five searches in Skopje and Kumanovo respectively (in two companies and one ministry), including eight companies in Italy. The police seized dozens computers – desktops and laptops, memory cards, cell phones, tablets, two short-guns, cash and official papers.
It is a reasonable suspicion, reasonable belief based on facts, that both suspects, citizens of North Macedonia, had committed a crime of bribery on several occasions.
In the past two months, a comprehensive criminal investigation has been conducted in cooperation with Public Attorney’s Office prosecuting organized crime and corruption, Ministry of Interior, OLAF and Eurojustice, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and other European countries.
Eurojustice was established in order to foster and improve co-operation between law-enforcement authorities across Europe and to encourage mutual understanding of the different legal systems in existence in member States.
No-decision could bring down the government, says Zaev
Further delay to opening EU accession negotiations could bring down the government, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said in Vienna, according to Tanjug news agency. “North Macedonia has no other alternative,” Serbian agency quotes Zaev as saying.
“There is no alternative. If EU postpones further a decision on the opening of accession talks, we won’t give up on our European path. EU is our future,” Zaev has said.
He added that in case of delay or no-decision, the government might fall, but that another government would come in its place to continue the European path.
“Because of EU we have changed the country’s name, we struck agreements with Greece and Bulgaria, we improved the relations with other neighbors. I believe that the EU motivates us to continue working and achieve even greater success,” Zaev.said.
Opposition mulls pension hike bill
Today, the parliamentary group of VMRO-DPMNE and Coalition has formally launched a bid to amend the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, seeking reinstitution of old legislation which resulted in pension hikes, VMRO-DPMNE’s legislator Sladjana Mitovska said on Wednesday.
The lawmakers of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE party and its allies have announced a bill with the intention of increasing pensions of all retirees.
“The bill also seeks to amend the Pension Insurance Act, to repeal the existing law enforced by SDSM at retirees’ expense considering the fact that over 310,000 retirees are no longer entitled to DEN500 increase.
“The bill is to amend the existing law and reinstate the previous one. Pensioners deserve living a dignified life and right to access life necessities,” the MP said.
Day of Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle a non-working day
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy announced on Wednesday that October 23, the Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle is a non-working day for all citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia.
The Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle is a national holiday which is celebrated on October 23.
In 2007 the holiday was voted into law as a new national holiday. It is a non-working day.
The holiday is celebrated on the occasion of the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO). On October 23, 1893 six young men gathered at the home of bookstore owner Ivan Hadzi Nikolov in Thessaloniki to set up the basis which would later become a symbol of struggle for Macedonian freedom.
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