Wiretapping scandal set 31: Prime Minister’s new Mercedes
The conversations from today’s set reveal: how did the coalition between VMRO-DPMNE and DUI function, especially when it comes to mutual protection and covering up of illegal behavior; how tenders worth millions have been set up and how money from private companies have been extorted, which later ended up in VMRO-DPMNE, who’s behind the purchase of a Mercedes worth nearly 600.000 euro.
The first two conversations are between Musa Djaferi and Sasho Mijalkov. We can hear that Mijalkov accepts to do the trick for a person close to Djaferi, i.e. to “release” the confiscated computers from his petrol station as soon as possible. We find out that Mijalkov pulled strings in the Finance police in order to fulfil the arranged, however the problem arises from the examining magistrate in Kichevo, who, says Mijakov “I checked, he was some kind of criminal, he was taking money here and there”. Nevertheless, Mijalkov promises swift solution for the problem.
The following two conversations are between Nikola Todorov and Gordana Jankuloska. Todorov informs Jankuloska about a crime with procurements by the Ministry of Health, about huge amounts signed by Bujar Osmani, former Minister of health from the coalition partner DUI. Todorov says that those in charge of the building inspection also perpetrated crimes. He says that Bujar Osmani wasted 400.000 euro of citizens’ money for nothing during the refurbishment of the hospital in Ohrid, and nobody knows where the money is, or as we can hear in the conversations, the ended up “in a well”.
Todorov admits to Jankuloska that there are problems in the documentation and on site as well, regarding the refurbishment, and also that this problem regarding the object’s stability is so serious, they were even considering to demolish the hospital. This is also confirmed by the audit.
THE TENDERS “OF THE IBIZA, THE FATSO”
The next conversations we are about to hear are between Vlatko Chingoski, the then director of the state electricity provider ELEM and Kiril Bozhinovski, the government’s Secretary General. We hear the setting up of tenders worth millions in ELEM, upon the direct order of Nikola Gruevski. It is also arranged which firms – “of the Ibiza, the fatso…” will benefit and how much. Also, concerning the prerequisites the firms cannot fulfill at that moment, they will be allowed to form a consortium in order to make the deal. The thing they have in common is they are close to the government and they must win the deals. As Zaev said in this press conference, this is the case of the tendering procedure in 2011 for excavating slag and coal from the landslide of the Suvodol Mine of REK Bitola, with coal delivery to TE Bitola. This business is worth 1.2 billion denar, i.e. 19.5 million euro!
Afterwards, in the following conversations between these two interlocutors, we hear about racketeering and extorting money from companies that previously won set up tenders. Also, we hear the names of the “lucky” firms. They talk in codes about “documents” and “materials” instead of money, and in one of their conversations we hear that “the little materials” end up in VMRO-DPMNE, said Zaev in the press conference. We also hear that the sum of the “document” is determined according to the deal, i.e. the job these companies got from the state firms. “Don’t deal with such small ciphers, 100-150 at least” Chingoski says in one of the conversations.
THE ARIPLANES FLY ON “BENEVOLENT” SPONSORSHIP
Then, we hear a conversation between Mile Janakieski and Gordana Jankuloska, in which we hear about the organization of the air transport for the diaspora voters who would vote for VMRO-DPMNE, and then we hear the names of the firms that are supposed to pay “the arrangements”.
Next, we hear a conversation between Kiril Bozhinovski and Dragan Pavlovikj – Latas in which we see how the party advertisements in Vecher daily are realized – there is an arrangement that VMRO-DPMNE should advertise there, however Bozhinovski is uncertain about how it ends up in the documentation, so Latas explains to him that “everything is fixed”. In continuance, we hear about firms that pay VMRO-DPMNE’s adds in the pro-government media during the elections with fictional invoices.
The conversations that follow unveil how the party, in the three months prior to the announcement of the presidential elections, acquired property worth more than 1.6 million euro. From the conversation between Mile Janakieski and Kiril Bozhinovski we hear about a secret poll that will show which Municipal committees will receive property. “It will be a disaster if somebody hears about this, we should not tell anything, the aim is to buy more” says Bozhinovski.
MERCEDES WITH A SURROUND SOUND SYSTEM, MASSAGE SEATS, TVs…
From the next conversations we find out about the brand new luxurious Mercedes for Gruevski worth nearly 600.000 euro. In the first conversation we hear Gruevski instructing Jankuloska to initiate the procurement procedure via the Ministry of Interior (MOI). “To be fully equipped” and “to have displays at the back”, Gruevski requests. He emphasizes that until the local elections (in 2013) are over, the MOI should act like the Mercedes is purchased, from the citizens’ money, for the needs of the MOI, not for his personal needs. They also make a plan about who “should be in charge” of the new automobile. We hear how the tender is planned, so the decision will be on one particular firm, and we hear that all of this is conducted in utmost secrecy in the Prime Minister’s cabinet. “Due to the fact that this is 100% electronic bidding, we should be careful that nobody else would fly in”, Jankuloska advises and points out that she instructed the exact process of the electronic auction.
Gruevski also made a scheme so nobody would know what kind of an automobile is bought – he is going to use it only when he is going on a trip, but if journalists are waiting for him, he will have the old Mercedes driving behind the new one, so before arriving Gruevski would switch cars and the journalists won’t see him coming out of a new vehicle.
The last conversation from this set is between Gordana Jankuloska and Sasho Mijalkov. Mijalkov found out that the Mercedes has arrived, so he wants to see it. Jankuloska says that they immediately hid it “in a garage at the Prime Minister’s, you know, so people won’t stare at it here, as a circus”. The luxurious automobile equipped with surround sound system, with air conditioning for every seat, massage seats, TVs, seat heaters costs 575.000 euro, and Jankuloska’s driver was the one who drove it from Mercedes’ factory, whereas the automaker stated that this automobile is the first such unit sold in South Eastern Europe ever.
THE BUSSES SHALL GO ROUND AND ROUND, AND THE PEOPLE SHALL WATCH
From the high-priced Mercedes to the transportation for the common people. But that must be shown, and we find that out from the conversation between Gruevski and Janakieski, who talk about Public enterprise “JSP Skopje’s” busses procured from Ukraine. Gruevski instructs that after the arrival of the busses, they should be immediately washed and dried off and to be sent from the garage in Gjorche Petrov to Centar, and Janakieski should get off with them from Gjorche, – and after the presentation “to make 10-15 laps, for about 4-5 hours, let them drive… For the people, to see them”.
All of the “bombs” are here.
Press conference of Zoran Zaev, president of SDSM, in Skopje, 13th of May 2015
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.