Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva held a press conference where she announced the first operation undertaken by her office. It has been dubbed “Titanic”. The Special Prosecutor explained that in Operation Titanic official investigations were launched into former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska, the former Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski (even though their names were not explicitly mentioned) and the Secretary of Government Kiril Bozinovski, for criminal conspiracy, violations of the right to vote, violation of the freedom to vote, bribery and the destruction of election material. They are all are being investigated for electoral fraud.
As Public Prosecutor Fatime Fetai said there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that in 2012 the three, using their positions and privileges, formed a group whose purpose was to ensure victory for the VMRO-DPMNE at the elections, employing tactic which include, the use of violence, abuse and harassment, bribery, bringing in people from abroad, illegal funding as well as other electoral crimes.
“From all of this, the result was the full criminalization of the electoral process by the issuing ID cards, the addition of names of persons to the Voters Lists, that for one reason or another should not have been added. In fact, some people have been photographed in one city and received their ID cards in another city or the Municipality of Centar, which of course is where the Voter’s Lists are, and that is where they voted. Next, it was determined that 15,000 new identity numbers were issued. To prevent any confusion, we are not talking about new identification numbers for newborns, but some 35,000 identification cards had been prepared and produced which were never claimed by the applicants, and no-one seems to know just what they’re doing at the Ministry of the Interior. We have 60,000 new Macedonian citizens, and as far as the Diaspora and the role of consular offices and officials, a separate official investigation will be opened”, Fatime Fetai said.
According to the Special Prosecutor, at the heart of electoral manipulations was, the then Interior Minister Gordana Jankolska, who “used all human and technical resources and infrastructure to compile an electoral list in the interests of the party she was a member of”.
“Not to get confused here, by law the electoral roll is handled by the SEC, however, 90% of the information the SEC uses for the voters’ list, originates from the Ministry of Interior. Of course, the Ministry of Justice joined in here, however, their case for now is just under suspicion. Specifically, when the need for new and reliable voters arose, the Interior Minister hired a large number of establishments and as ordered they trampled over all the laws, regulations and professional guidelines to achieve their goal. Abruptly the Interior Ministry began to work in reverse, firstly, producing photo IDs, then entry into the Identity Card System. Entering all this data into the system of the Ministry of the Interior for ID cards was in fact forging the Voter’s Lists. It is absolutely irrelevant that some persons were issued ID cards and some were not. Some voted using their passport which would have a different place of residence on it, but because they were on the Voter’s Lists which matched the information from the ID database, electoral authorities allowed them to vote” explained Special Prosecutor Fatime Fetai.
For all that, a huge part of the financial support was provided through illegal and undisclosed sources of funding.
As announced by the SPP, charges have been filed against five judges from the Administrative Court and against four members of the State Electoral Commission (SEC) in 2013.
Responding to a question from the media, Prosecutor Lence Ristovska said at present, they have requested taking into custody eight suspects because there was “a danger that they will influence the witnesses”.
Requests to the Basic Court Skopje 1 were delivered this morning and one person has been arrested and brought before a judge for preliminary investigation.
Unofficially, it is said to be Edmond Temelko, the Mayor of Pustec in Albania.