Macedonia’s special prosecutors probe misuse of funds by secret police

By bne IntelliNews September 29, 2016

The Macedonian Special Prosecution Office (SPO) said on September 28 it has launched a new investigation into the misuse of state funds by secret police officials to buy video monitoring equipment.

The new probe came after the SPO’s head Katica Janeva was fiercely criticised by the governing VMRO-DPMNE party for her work and competence. The SPO was set up last year to probe allegations based on illegally wiretapped conversations that revealed crime and corruption among senior officials. The recordings were released by the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) in 2015.

The case, dubbed Trezor (Vault), relates to the misuse of €862,000, the SPO said in a statement.

Three of the suspects were heads of departments within the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK), while one was an interior ministry official. The names of the suspects were not revealed.

The SPO will ask for the assets of the suspects to be frozen. “The funds gained through the abuse of positions by some officials and damaging the budget, were used for personal wealth, which is punishable under the Criminal Code,” special prosecutor Fatime Fetai was quoted in the statement.

The transactions for the equipment, purchased from the UK, were made in 2010-2012 and from July 2014 until the end of 2015.

The transactions were made by local company Finzi, which bought the equipment from a British company and then sold it to the interior ministry for a much higher price.

Finzi was managed by Kosta Krpac, who was one of the SPO's witnesses, but was found dead in his apartment in April 2016. According to preliminary findings, Krpac committed suicide by firing a shot into his chest, but there are suspicions that he was murdered.

Earlier this year, the SPO launched an investigation dubbed Fortress, related to the illegal destruction of equipment used for illegal wiretapping equipment purchased from Israel.

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