Macedonia Special Prosecution Probes Procurement Scam

Macedonia's special prosecution, SJO, says it suspects that four Interior Ministry and counter-intelligence operatives illicitly acquired hundreds of thousands of euros of budget money for procuring and then maintaining telecommunications surveillance equipment for the secret police between 2010 and 2015.

They bought the equipment from an unnamed company in Britain - but then sold it on to the police through a Macedonian firm called Finzi dooel - Skopje at a far higher price, the SJO alleged.

"There is a reasonable suspicion that between July 2010 until 2012, the first three suspects misused their office and secured material benefits for the company [Finzi] of more than 577,000 euro," deputy Special Prosecutor Fatime Fetai told a press conference in Skopje.

The SJO said the fourth suspect helped the group pull off the illicit deals by preparing the legal paperwork.

"Instead of acquiring [the equipment] directly from Britain, they [the suspects] went through the firm registered in Macedonia whose director was a blood relative of the third suspect", Fetai said, explaining that this was done to then sell it on to the police at far higher prices.

The SJO says it has the original procurement deal and the additional two annexes by which the Interior Ministry paid the full sum to the company.

In addition, the SJO said that the first and second suspect again misused their office between July 2015 and the end of 2015, squeezing another 285,000 euros from the budget by signing a deal with Finzi for maintenance of the equipment.

According to Fetai, this was not necessary and Finzi was not equipped to undertake such maintenance work anyway.

Finzi dooel - Skopje, which also owns NetPress news portal, is not...

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