The Department of the Suppression of Organized and Serious Crime of the Ministry of the Interior, on the order of the relevant public prosecutor from the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption, in coordination with the Italian prosecutor’s office in Milano, and with the support of “Eurojust”, has conducted a coordinated police operation to provide evidence of “receiving bribes” by two civil servants when allocating a legal entity to implement a project funded by IPA funds, report the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The criminal investigation was actively conducted in the past two months, in cooperation with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption and the Ministry of Interior along with international organizations “OLAF” and “Eurojust”, as well as many different countries such as Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and others European countries.

“The case is of international dimension and was initiated by the European Anti-Fraud Office – OLAF, which through the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Milan, Italy, submitted a request for international legal assistance to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption. On the orders of the relevant public prosecutor, the Department for the Suppression of Organized and Serious Crime conducted investigative actions and provided evidence regarding irregularities, fraud and corruption in several projects implemented by various institutions in our country, financed by the European Union. Verification and checks for corruption of IPA funds were carried out in the amount of €1.2 million, from 2014 to 2016, involving two Macedonian nationals. The actions were committed in Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Romania and in other European countries”, added the statement.

The suspects, as officials, in the period from June 2014 to August 2015 from an Italian legal entity through intermediaries – an Italian citizen counselor in the legal entity and an English citizen – a business partner of an English legal entity with a subsidiary in Skopje, received a “gift” – a trip abroad three times, of a total value of €7,000 in order to carry out an official act that they were not allowed to perform.

“They, as officials, provided detailed access of confidential information regarding tenders before the official publication of operating conditions to a legal entity, ie a tender applicant. With these actions, although the suspects knew that the sharing of information with applicants or potential applicants in tender procedures was illegal, broke the law and the principles of confidentiality and equality, and enabled the legal entity to have a privileged position and advantage over other applicants. As a result, the legal entity was selected to implement the IPA project and a contract was signed in the amount of €1.096.900”, stated the Prosecution.

During 2016, in the period when the implementation of the IPA project had already begun in the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, the first suspect, through the Italian mediator of the legal entity, received cash twice as a reward, in the total amount from €37.930 euros, or 2.332.695 denars, which resulted in significant unlawful property gain. The second suspect received a gift in the amount of €2.500 euros, or 153.750 denars, and received a larger unlawful property gain.

“Assessing the fulfillment of the conditions, the relevant public prosecutor submitted a proposal for detention of the suspect in 2005 to a Judge of Preliminary Proceedings of the Criminal Court Skopje. The suspect was prosecuted for the criminal act of abuse of the right to vote under Article 161 and in the same case was charged with a fine for the violation of the right to vote under Article 159 of the Criminal Code. The second suspect is not currently in the territory of the country”, the statement added.