Macedonia’s former minister of interior Gordana Jankuloska has been sentenced to six years in prison for the procurement of luxury Mercedes. After the conviction, Jankuloska has to pay both the legal fees and the costs of proceedings.
“Public office holders must not underestimate the citizens,” judge Dobrila Kacarska said when handing out the sentence. “The convicted colluded to act like the vehicle belongs to the interior ministry in a bid to secure political gain prior to local elections,” the judge said.
The court found Jankuloska guilty of unlawful influencing her aide Gjoko Popovski to commit a criminal offence. She has been convicted of misconduct in public office in connection with 2012 bid rigging in the purchase [public procurement] of a luxury vehicle at an estimated cost of 600,000 euros.
Nikola Gruevski, the country’s prime minister from 2006 to 2016, was sentenced in May to two years in prison for unlawfully influencing officials at the Interior Ministry over the purchase of the luxury bulletproof Mercedes.
Gjoko Popovski, former assistant interior minister was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail. Last week, the Appeals Court shortened his sentence to 4.5 years.
In the closing statement, Jankuloska asked the court to acquit her of charges for her role in the public procurement, saying she had no intention to influence or exert pressure or anyone.
Plevneliev: Macedonia deserves EU membership, Macron is wrong
Bulgaria’s former president Rosen Plevneliev said he supports the accession of Macedonia and Albania into the European Union.
In an interview with Bgnes, Plevneliev said he opposes the President of France Emmanuel Macron, who had reportedly trying to block the launch of accession negotiations with the two Balkan nations.
“I’ve always been against it when EU member states, in this case France, have been blocking EU enlargement along with projects of common interest due to internal political reasons. We all know how important it is for Macedonia and Albania to receive an invitation now.
“At a time when there is a very strong geopolitical clash in the Balkans, the EU must show its strength and power,” Plevneliev told Bgnes. The EU countries need to have the courage to restate the membership promise.
In the interview, the former president recalls that Bulgaria was also a
victim of such a policy, alluding to the Netherlands.
Plevneliev called on France not to succumb to domestic battles, but to prioritize the common good rather than self-interest. The common interest must prevail.
Conference of North Macedonia’s honorary consuls
Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts a two-day conference of honorary consuls of North Macedonia, starting Monday, October 14.
Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrej Zernovski delivered the opening speech, underlying the government’s commitment to pursuing economic reform and further improvements of business environment.
“North Macedonia’s economic policy is constantly focused on improving the business environment, supporting innovations and entrepreneurship, and attracting foreign investors as main promotors of economic growth,” economy minister said.
“Last year we drew up a new plan on economic growth in line with the Law on Financial Support of Investments. The plan features incentives to help boost investments and competitiveness of North Macedonia’s economy, divided in three pillars, to enable private sector leverage government’s support,” Bekteshi said.
He briefed the honorary consuls on energy reforms that pave the way to new investments in energy sector. The minister called on the consuls to promote the opportunities offered by the country, with main emphasis placed on renewable energy investments (investing in renewable energy sources).
Katica Janeva back in jail after short hospital stay
The former special prosecutor for organized crime, Katica Janeva, on Monday will be remanded in custody in Shuto Orizari detention facility after a short stay in hospital.
Last Thursday, Janeva, an inductee in extortion racket case, was rushed to Zhan Mitrev clinic with hypertensive crisis. She was hospitalized due to severe increase in blood pressure, and deteriorating health.
Janeva has been remanded in custody since August 21.
Formal charges were filed last week against three people over alleged involvement in racketeering. Bojan Jovanovski, Katica Janeva and Zoran Mileski, are accused of running an extortion scheme.
The indictment alleges that Janeva had accepted a reward for unlawful influence. Jovanovski is charged with fraud and money-laundering conspiracy. Janeva, the former special prosecutor of organized crime, has been charged with abuse of office and authorizations.
Katica Janeva, former head of Special Prosecutor’s Office (SJO), had allegedly offerred leniency in exchange for cash to a businessman after her office indicted him for corruption. Two other suspects were arrested on suspicion of extorting 1.5 million euros from the business owner, Orce Kamcev.
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