The Special Prosecutor’s Office employees go to work every day and wait for the Ministry of Justice to amend the Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office so they can pick up their next salary, now that they are officially “beheaded”, without a head special prosecutor and other prosecutors. While they are in limbo and have no one to dismiss, some of the daughters, cousins and close relatives of former Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva and the rest of the prosecutors are benefiting from this situation as the institutions will find it very difficult to investigate the employment in the now closed institution.
Prosecutor Elizabeta Josifovska, who hired her daughter at the SPO, did not deny the information in a statement for Nezavisen Vesnik/Independent Daily, but said all prosecutors had agreed not to comment on this issue.
“We have agreed that we will not make statements and that we will not comment on any statements by political parties and other entities, whatever they are. We will not make any statements on these issues”,Josifovska told Nezavisen Vesnik.
According to Nezavisen Vesnik’s information from the Anti-Corruption Commission, these employments will be investigated, but there will be hardly any results as there is no signatory or leader in the dismissed SPO.
Party-motivated employment in the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office has been reported to the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) as early as 2018. According to the report, the director of a state-owned company close to the government employed his close associates in other state institutions, including the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office. But this complaint was not acted upon because at that time the Anti-Corruption Commission was not functioning, i.e. it was without members. This report is also backed by information released by VMRO-DPMNE on 25 cases of nepotism in SPO employment yesterday. However, some of the employments released by VMRO-DPMNE are incorrect. According to Nezavisen Vesnik’s information, the information that the son of Igor Milev, a close associate of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and the husband of a judge at the Court of Appeals, Tanja Mileva, was hired by the SPO. Milev does not even have a son. Among the employees is Pane Nacev, and the daughter of the member of the Council of Public Prosecutors, Kole Shteriev, Tea Shterieva, was not employed in the SPO at all, but spent several months practicing or volunteering at the SPO. But it is true that the SPO employed a cousin of the prosecutor Lenche Ristoska, that the prosecutor Elizabeta Josifovska employed her daughter and cousin. Two cousins of Prosecutor Gavril Bubevski, Eftimija and Ljupcho Chuchurski, a relative of Justice Minister Renata Deskoska, were also employed in the institution, as for the former head, Katica Janeva, she hired relatives and close ones the most. She had her nephew, her son’s girlfriend, the daughter of her friend Saso Vasilevski hired in the SPO, and also hired her driver from the Gevgelija Court as her personal driver. Of the most exposed prosecutors, Fatime Fetai was the only one that did not hire relatives or friends. The opposition party says these are only a part of the party employment and the nepotism of prosecutors in the SPO and demand that a SPO Inquiry Commission be formed.
“The Parliament is obliged to disclose the current functioning of the SPO, which was to be an example of an institution that would be immune to partisanship, nepotism and lawlessness. Once again, we appeal to the parliamentary groups to support the proposal to set up an inquiry committee and together help the public gain insight into the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and Katica Janeva so far as head of the institution”, the opposition party urged.
According to current practice, none of the inquiry commissions established in Parliament have come to the truth in any case, and the Anti-Corruption Commission says investigating these cases will be extensive and difficult. They should have checked the allegations through the Registry Office where they should seek physical birth certificates because they do not have direct access to the documents because the software is not ready. Then they need to examine who is related to whom, and if there is anything illegal in their employment procedures.
“We will continue to look for information and documents, but when 60 days have expired since the last request for information we will have to inform the public of the outcome”, the Anti-Corruption Commission said. This procedure is likely to depend on the political agreement on the law on public prosecution that is expected to resolve the status of officially hired employees by September 15, 2020. Some of them may be transferred from the SPO to the regular Public Prosecutor’s Office, so the Anti-Corruption Commission would have no obstacle to investigate them there.
However, some of the employees on the list released by VMRO-DPMNE may be collateral damage. The daughter of the current director of the Shutka Prison Investigation, Esad Rahic, where Janeva is detained, was hired by the SPO. Rahic said in a statement for Nezavisen Vesnik that in 2016, when his daughter was hired by the SPO, he was unemployed and had no political power.
“In 2016 I had neither a party function nor was a member of any body and I was unemployed. She applied to the job ad and was hired as the best candidate for the job. Why shouldn’t my child have a job? I have not made any calls, nor have political power to do anything. These accusations come from a party in which the prime minister appointed his first cousin as head of the secret service and the other cousin as head of customs”, Rahic said.
Since the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) was established, it immediately began investigating the hiring of close relatives of officials in state institutions, most notably in MEPSO and ELEM. Some of them resigned on their own, and for some the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption said they were hired without any explanation, as close relatives of MPs, ministers and other officials, picked out from lists of hundreds of candidates that applied for the jobs.