Inconsistencies and populism regarding the armored Mercedes


In its 57th session, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, among other things, made the following inconsistent conclusion:

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia halts the process of selling the vehicle Mercedes until the ending of the trial in which the vehicle might serve as an evidence material. This decision is made in order to prevent evading defendants’ responsibility in the trial in which the vehicle is a subject of interest.

[Source: Government of RM, 57th session, date: 6 March 2018]


The decision made by the Government in its 57th session regarding the stoppage of the sale of “Gruevski’s Mercedes” is inconsistent and it is the last episode in the increasing populistic story.

But first, the inconsistency. The story about the Mercedes began when the wiretapped phone conversations, obtained by SDSM, were published in 2015. At the political rallies that followed, the incumbent Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, as the leader of the biggest opposition party, promised that the Mercedes will be sold and the money will be used for purchasing ambulance vehicles. That was also promised during the snap elections campaigns, and probably in the general speeches during the local elections campaigns.

At the end of last year, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) made a decision to remove the Mercedes from its equipment list and to hand it over to the Government – the Sector for General and Joint Affairs for permanent use. On 12 December 2017, in its 43rd session, the Government verified this decision and stated that the Mercedes will be sold and the money will be used for purchasing hospital equipment:

Today, the Government adopted the decision with which the automobile Mercedes, previously owned by the Ministry of Interior, is given without payment to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia – Sector for General and Joint Affairs for permanent use, thus creating the possibility for appropriating this vehicle, while the received funds will be allocated for purchasing hospital equipment.

On 13 February 2018, after a forensic expertise has been conducted, the Government made a final decision on selling the vehicle through an auction:

Today, the Government decided to put the passenger motor vehicle Mercedes Benz S600 on sale via the electronic public bidding system managed by the Ministry of Finance. The starting estimated value of this automobile, according to the Bureau for Forensic Expertise, is 14.372.208,00 denars (230.000 euros). The public bidding shall be performed electronically on

During this period, the court proceeding regarding the procurement of the Mercedes, initiated after the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) issued an indictment in January 2017, is under way. The SPO claims that MOI officials abused the procurement procedure, who were instructed to do so by the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

It is completely clear that the jurists in the Government, there are plenty of them, could have estimated a lot earlier whether the object that could serve as an evidence in such situation could be sold or not. But they haven’t.

After the Government didn’t react, the former Supreme Court judge Dane Iliev reacted to the question posed by the Faktor website. Iliev,who’s also surprised by the Government’s decision, voiced his reaction:

With a court decision, the Mercedes should be temporarily taken away until the end of the proceeding, then the Court should decide what’s going to happen next with the vehicle – whether it’ll be entrusted to a certain body or it’ll be sold and so on. The sale of the automobile vis a vis the same object is not allowed. Until the enforcement of the judgement, the Mercedes, which is a part of an investigation led by the SPO, under the remit of the Court, cannot be sold. I wonder how nobody in the Government knows that an object (the Mercedes), which is a part of an investigation, cannot be sold.

After this happened, the Government made a decision to stop the sale in the session held on 7 March 2018, backed by similar explanation like the retired judge Iliev’s.

According to Truthmeter’s methodology, all of this is sufficient for us to assess the Government’s decision as inconsistent.





Assessed by: Teofil Blazhevski

This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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