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.
Arrest warrant issued for Spasov
Former special police officer Igor Spasov, who has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for murdering Martin Neskoski, is wanted on recall to prison after going missing.
Macedonian police issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after he failed to show up to begin his sentence. The arrest warrant has been published on the web-site of the Ministry of Interior.
The former member of special police force vanished after ignoring summons to serve time after he was sentenced in prison on murder charges.
The man had probably fled justice to avoid serving a 14-year jail sentence for a murder conviction. He was to report to Idrizovo correctional facility on 18 October.
The murder took place during a late-night celebration of VMRO-DPMNE’s victory in 2011 parliamentary elections.
Matthew Palmer due in Skopje today
The US Secretary of State’s Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, will visit North Macedonia on Tuesday.
Special Representative Palmer is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
The two are expected to discuss the bilateral relations between North Macedonia and the United States, including the US support for the country’s integration into the Euro-Atlantic community. They will exchange views on the situation in the country and the region.
In late August, the U.S. State Department appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Palmer as special envoy for the Western Balkans with a mandate to help integrate the region into Western institutions.
US Secretary of State has appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew Palmer as his Special Representative for the Western Balkans. In this role, Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen U.S. diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and focus on integration of the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.
Zaev: We can give argument to reassure Macron
We can give arguments to reassure President Macron that “methodology prior to enlargement” proposal could be converted into “enlargement along with change in methodology”, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev wrote on his Facebook page, alluding to France’s Emmanuel Macron’s initiative for new enlargement methodology.
“We are not only a strategic interest, we are Europe. It means we will become a member of the European Union once we wrap up the comprehensive reform at home. The pre-accession process and closure of chapters will help us make it happen. The accession negotiations will help us wrap up domestic reform,” Zaev wrote on his Facebook page.