Few hours after a court in Skopje ordered a 30-day detention of SJO chief Katica Janeva, prosecutor Vilma Ruskovska said she didn’t ask the court to remand Janeva in custody because she didn’t have enough evidence to charge her.
The outgoing head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SJO) initially was not a suspect in the high-profile extortion case, codenamed ‘Racket’ as there were no evidence indicating involvement, Ruskovska said. “If I had enough evidence that someone committed offence, they would have been taken in police custody,” she added.
“I didn’t ask the court to remand Janeva in custody. I deemed that my colleague should be given a chance to express her point of view, and that’s the reason I did not seek detention. The case is very much exposed in public. I just wanted to hear what she has to say as a witness. I would not require detention without sufficient evidence,” Ruskovska said after Janeva was brought to court for questioning by examining magistrate, a pre-trial investigation judge.
On Wednesday, police raided Janeva’s home and detained her as part of widening investigation into high-profile extortion ring. The authorities sought detention of the special prosecutor and head of SJO after she was named as a suspect in a high-profile corruption scandal.
Prosecutor Katica Janeva was formally accused Wednesday of abusing her authority and gaining substantial benefit in form of property. She had allegedly dropped corruption charges against a local businessman in exchange for payment.
Janeva denied any wrongdoing.
Janeva’s office – the Special Prosecutor’s Office or SJO – was set up 2015 as part of a crackdown on organized crime and corruption. SJO’s task is to investigate and prosecute criminal offences related to and arising from content of the illegally intercepted communication.
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.