Wiretapping scandal set 5: GUPs, DUPs, dynamite and modern oxen
The fifth set of the wiretapped conversations is dedicated to the demolition of the “Cosmos” residential complex owned by Fijat Canoski, and in it we find only conversations between Nikola Gruevski and Mile Janakieski, as a Minister of Transport and Communications at that time.
In the first conversation, Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister at that time, instructs Janakieski to follow the plan. They talk in codes (“about this F.C”.) and Gruevski wants to know whether there are reasons to delay the plan and asks whether Fijat Canoski has been calling Janakieski. The Minister at that time says that tomorrow an (act or injunction?) will be sent as a registered letter, and Gruevski instructs Janakieski to send the registered letter in the afternoon, so it won’t be the “first thing in the morning”.
In the second conversation Gruevski says that Gazi Baba’s mayor has had problems due to “this with Fijat” and the Administrative Inspectorate paid him a visit in the Municipal Hall. Then Gruevski says that another solution for suppressing the construction of “Cosmos” crossed his mind – changing the DUP (Detailed Urban Development Plan) and projecting a park on the building plot, “with fountains and everything” while Janakieski says that reducing the dimensions of the building is sufficient… Gruevski orders him to call Toni (Trajkovski, Gazi Baba’s mayor) because the latter said that if the Minister (Janakieski) watches his back, he would “push this through”. Janakieski says: No problem.
In the third played conversation, Gruevski calls Janakieski with a new idea – changing the GUP (Master Urban Development Plan for Skopje) and to introduce a park there, because he believes that even if Canoski finds a way to continue with the construction according to the DUP, the GUP will preclude his attempt to get a permit.
In the next conversation both interlocutors talk about pushing a proceeding; about what Borche had been looking for; who should Janakieski call about the arrangements of the date for announcing open competitions; about Ilija and ZELS… (Association of the Local Government Areas). Then they again talk about Fijat, and Gruevski says that he had had conversations with some people and believes that they should act on 29th, after forming the new government. Moreover, he warns Janakieski to have the documentation prepared in time. Then they agree that Janakieski and the others should be prepared “for Monday, 1st of August” considered as “the holiday season peak” by Gruevski.
Afterwards, the judge Kacarska, who had appeared on the construction site carrying documents, but has been referred to the Municipal Hall of Gazi Baba, becomes the topic. Janakieski is afraid that there will be court injunction for the demolition, although “Biljana” has assured him that it’s impossible to issue an injunction in just couple of hours. Janakieski then says that that morning during the demolition of “Cosmos” a construction crew had given up and left the construction site, so “they” should find new crew. Gruevski asks whether “they” had showed up… Then Gruevski and Janakieski talk about the demolition progress, whereupon Janakieski says there have been certain technical problems… He reports that two professors had been supposed to come and to produce a plan for the demolition, because the demolition progresses slowly due to the fact that the construction has lots of steel in it.
The next conversation is again about the demolition. Gruevski wants details about the progress of the demolition and Janakieski describes the machines “two big machines from Beton”, making Gruevski laugh. Janakieski forecasts that the demolition will end in 7-8 days, and Gruevski is interested whether he could receive information on how will the things progress, and then notifies that USA’s deputy ambassador had asked the government why it is demolishing the complex and had told that Fijat Canoski is convinced that the demolition is an act of vengeance for the financing of the “A1” TV station. They both talk about a letter that should be well written, expertly defined, because “those” in the embassies will most likely hire experts. Gruevski says that the deputy ambassador complained because Canoski couldn’t file an appeal, i.e. that the courts are in hiatus… He had also requested the end of the court proceeding. Janakieski points out to Gruevski that the appeal cannot delay the demolition.
The following conversation is also about the demolition plans. Gruevski suggests stopping the demolition work now the structure is disabled, and Janakieski describes the demolition progress. Then he tell the PM that Canoski had appeared on “Alfa” TV station, which aired footage from the explosion which, by the way, hasn’t completed the demolition. He also explains that the professor (the one who created the plan) had said the building contains a lot of concrete, because there have been 16 stories planned, and more dynamite could create huge compression which would have demolished the surrounding objects. Gruevski then says to leave the things as they are and Canoski will complete the demolition if he decides to start the construction anew.
In the next conversation, Gruevski informs Janakieski that he had talked with (then euro ambassador, Peter) Sorensen, who has remarked that “Cosmos’” demolition seems like vengeance, because only Canoski’s object is demolished and others are left untouched. Both interlocutors agree that Sorensen is right and they start thinking what other objects could they demolish, so it will not look like only Canoski was building without permission. Also, Gruevski mentions that Sorensen emphasized to him the necessity of creating appropriate media regulative…
All of the bombs are here
Press conference of Zoran Zaev, president of SDSM, in Skopje, 27th of February 2015
(Below you will find the transcripts in English of the records played in this press conference)
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(1)
NG:Tomorrow, do the thing that was planned for Friday.
MJ:The thing I texted you earlier, right?
NG:Yes, yes. Is there a reason to delay? No.
MJ:No, no, no. That’s it.
NG:About that, FC.
NG: That who we are talking about, FC?
MJ:Yes, yes, yes. OK.
NG:Has he tried to contact you in some way?
MJ:No, no, no. I think he doesn’t know. Or maybe he’s relaxed. I don’t know.
NG:Do you have the control over the time when he will receive [the decision]?
MJ:He will receive it tomorrow. I’ll send it via registered postal service and will organize to have it delivered in person.
NG:Somewhere around three or four o’clock, that’s when they should deliver it.
NG:Around three, not early in the morning, tell them to deliver it around 3 o’clock.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(2)
NG:Mile, I thought of another option. Should we change the DUP? (Detailed Urban Plan)
MJ:We mentioned that in the past. OK.
NG: So what are we waiting for, if it is OK?
MJ:No. You asked me five-six months ago, I told You and You said OK. We didn’t communicate afterwards.
NG:Let’s make it a nice park, with fountains, and everything. What you say? We would also need to expropriate his land.
MJ:No. We don’t have to that, but he won’t be able to build on it. That’s enough, in my opinion, it would be sufficient if we only reduce the construction width and height.
MJ:It won’t be financially worthwhile. We’ll set P plus five and…. (ground floor plus 5)
NG:What do you mena 5, P plus two!
MJ: All right now, P plus a given size, let’s say, P plus one, and he won’t be able to say publically that we don’t allow him to build, but he will not build…
NG:How about making it half a park and half [construction land] with P plus two?
MJ:See now. I’m leaving for Bosnia and will be back tomorrow evening. I’ll sit down and will tell You what can be done, the minimum that can be done.
NG:You call Toni, I’ve told Toni and he said: tell Mile, the minister, if he has my back, I’ll push this through.
MJ:Not a problem. Consider it done.
NG:But it should be done fast. Because he’ll press in the court, he’ll press everywhere and he [Toni] would have the Administration Inspectorate breathing in his neck. This thing should be speeded up, have it passed in the Council by September or October.
MJ:Done deal. Tomorrow evening I’ll sit down and will….
NG:It would be best to call him now, tell him what to do first, and then meet him tomorrow evening.
MJ:All right, done.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(3)
NG:Mile, I just thought of something, what about changing his GUP?
MJ:Change the GUP, now?
NG:Yes. Park. Green area. Let’s do that!
NG:Afterwards, even if his DUP indicates the previous situation nobody would be able to give him a construction permit. Right?
MJ:Yes, but the procedure is longer, to change….. don’t know, sometimes….. GUP procedure is longer.
NG:Yes. You see about that DUP and GUP.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(4)
NG:The thing with Fijat, you see, I’ve talked to some people.
NG:[I talked] with Martin, let’s say, and with others. Everybody shares the opinion that it would be good to have it passed in the Parliament.
NG:Meaning after 26th, and you know what’s on 26th.
NG:i.e. on 27th, the day after.
NG:26th is for “you know what”, and the day after, on 27th. It perfectly overlaps with the new mandate of the Government, 28th. Then, on 29th, we take action.
MJ:OK. OK. Agreed.
NG:But you should be ready, in case we change our mind, be ready to start earlier, if needed.
MJ:Documents are ready today.
MG:Well done. Bye. Ciao.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(5)
MJ: I wanted to consult you again, about the thing we discussed earlier.
MJ:Should I come by or will you come down?
NG:Well, I’ll come down later and see you. If I don’t come down, you come to me.
MJ: So Monday, right?
NG:For now, that’s set. I mean, prepare for Monday. You be ready as if it is tomorrow.
MJ:Everything is ready.
NG:For the time being, it’s Monday.
NG:Because tomorrow and the day after we are there. These [the opposition] will leave the Parliament. On Friday, I’ll be there again, about the deputies, you know. It will be tough.
MJ:OK. OK. OK.
NG:Therefore, it would be good if it doesn’t go down on Saturday and Sunday, you known, non-working days. Monday, 1st August, is perfect. Summer hiatus is already on.
MG:That’s it. Wait a minute, let me think. All right, I’ll see you later.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(6)
NG:Mile, this is going smooth, right?
MJ:It’s going smooth President, but we have a new situation, I don’t know why, but judge Kacarska appeared.
MJ:The judge Kacarska appeared at the construction site, she wanted to submit some papers, but we referred her to the municipality. I already talked to Biljana, but I fear that they might present us with a court order on prohibiting demolition activities.
MJ:I’ll know in about 10 minutes.
NG:Wow, wow, wow.
MJ:Biljana called the president of the court to see what this is all about.
MJ:This is what I’m dealing with now.
NG:So that’s where he bribed, see?
MJ:But the courts have taken a hiatus. Biljana says it has never happened before to have a decision within two hours, but everything is possible.
NG:Everything is possible, yes.
NG:Did she bring anything?
MJ:She said: I want to submit some papers at the construction site and visit the construction site, but the inspectors were ordered not to let anybody through, and referred her to the municipality. I’ll know more in about 15 minutes. I’ll call You.
NG:Why don’t you call the person with the highest rank there [the court]?
MJ: But, it’s Basic Court Skopje 2. Biljana is now talking with the president of the court. I called her just two minutes ago.
MJ:Otherwise, its’ going OK. There were problems this morning, some workers were quitting and things like that, but I should not bother You with such stupidities.
NG:What you mean they were quitting?
MJ:Well, one crew came and the machine operator said: I don’t want to work on this building and left. We found another, and so.
NG:But, why did he quit?
MJ:How should I know? He said he was afraid, went away, don’t know. He got scared or something.
NG:Did they appear on the site?
NG:Well, his [Fijat’s] entourage.
MJ:No, no. They were at FON [university building].
NG:Where were they? At FON?
MJ:At FON, the university.
MJ:Today we submitted the decision to an execution officer, you know, for collecting 5 million euros as mortgage.
NG:Look, if that falls under the municipality, the municipality should send it by postal services to, what’s his name, to Saso.
MJ:No, that’s from the court, but the municipality is responsible for enforcing it, and we only coordinate. It’s the court that directly prohibits the municipality to do this.
NG:So far, is the building sufficiently demolished so that he won’t be able to continue?
MJ:Five, six pillars are tumbled down. Instead of going with machinery, we use marble-cutting wires, they are very efficient.
NG:At which floor?
MJ:They are moving from the top down.
NG:Aaaa, so we don’t have anything. Top down. That’s insignificant damage.
MJ:Now they entered the building, I mean, they just started working, it took a while to plug the machinery to power supply, water supply.
MJ:Not just now, they started work with the machines around 10 o’clock, but they waited for the crew with wires to come down first, so they started two hours ago.
MJ:It took three hours to have two professors down to make a projection and see whether in three to four days the building will totally collapse, like the “Rudine” building. We didn’t know the situation inside, what type of construction works are in place, there are many steel-enforced pillars, they are difficult to cut.
MJ:Let me see about this thing, and I’ll call You back.
NG:OK. OK. Talk to you soon.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(7)
NG:Mile, how it’s going?
NG:How are things with Cosmos, are you overseeing them?
MJ:Yes, yes, yes. This is how it is.
NG:What’s happening there?
NG:What’s happening there?
MJ:We are working on the small building. If we manage to tumble it down today, just as I told You, machines called ox, but modern. We secured two big machines from Beton, 30 tons each, they are cutting with…
NG:Ha, ha, ha….With modern ox. Ha, ha.
MJ:Yes, literally that is the system, because we didn’t want to organize a tender, because that would be nonsense. So, they are cutting the pillars and once they are down with the cutting wires, the two big Caterpillar machines will pull the main pillars aside and the building should collapse.
MJ: That’s how we will continue, one vertical after another, depending on when the cutting is completed, today around five and half, six, or seven. If we succeed, we’ll do that with all floors. I don’t know, depends on the cutting. We should finish in 7-8 days.
NG:Here…the same with the other, right?
МЈ:Yes, of course. That’s it. Look, You know what’s the problem there..
MJ:The first two floors are concrete-casted; they don’t have pillars; they are fully casted in concrete.
MJ:That complicates things for us. We have engaged the strongest trucks, but there is another machine, they call it “the nine”, allegedly it is stronger, but there are only one or two [in the country]. We will try with these [machines], if not, we ask for the others tomorrow.
MJ:These are from Beton. Granit has the same. Some Albanian operated them at the Cement Factory.
NG:So, by tonight we’ll know about the small [building]?
MJ:We’ll know about the small and generally about the entire complex.
NG:I just met with people from the US Embassy;they are worried about implementation of the law. The Deputy Ambassadors wanted to know why this, why that, he used to be your MP and he’s with SDS now, he financed A1 TV, claims that’s the cause. I told him: well, he publicly admitted his mistake. And he tells me: yes, he admitted in public, but the mistake was not serious and this is happening because of TV A1 and that his default was minor, by 1 meter only. Didn’t you say he defaulted by an entire floor, underground?
MJ:Meter and half, above the elevation. Plus, he has additional pillars.
NG:Aha. Good. So, the small one is done by tonight?
MJ:That’s right, that’s what we expect to happen.
MJ:I’ll call You immediately. As soon as it’s done, I’m calling you.
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(8)
NG:About what you have texted me. We don’t have to finish it, as long as it damaged, our work is done. We don’t need the visual aspect, as you call it, in this case.
MJ:I have sent pictures. TV Alfa just aired a very good footage, shot from his [premises].
NG:And what was on TV Alfa?
MJ:The video featured the explosion and him making a statement.
NG:What is he saying? The building is strong, they cannot demolish it?
MJ:No, he said something like: demolish it fast, I will build again.
NG:Aha. I think we should not [continue], if it’s damaged as you say, we don’t continue, let him complete the demolition.
MJ:Absolutely, debris was flying in the air, I don’t know how it still stands erect.
MJ:Most probably in the middle, because I just spoke with the professor, there are concrete-casted layers, and he angered me a lot, raised my blood pressure, so there’s an elevator and it is half casted in concreted, and holds it together. Second, he said, the building is constructed with 16 floors, so there’s lots of concrete in the first three floors, and only five floors are erected, so he was afraid to use more dynamite, he says, it might create compression and we would end up destroying houses. That would have created a counter-effect.
NG:Is that so.
MJ:I said, OK.
NG:I think we should stop here. Let the building stand where it stands. Right?
NG: If he really plans to build, let him level the building to the ground on his own, right?
Conversation between Mile Janakieski and Nikola Gruevski(9)
NG:I just spoke with Sorensen. You hear me?
MJ:Yes, of course.
MG:On my way out, you know, I informally asked him to tell me, except for the name issue, what’s bothering Brussels the most, what they are most worried about. Two things, he says, and they are both connected with Cobweb. One, he says, is implementation of the law. OK, I say, an example? For example, he says, you demolished Fijat’s building. That’s all right, but if you demolish, you should demolish all who are like Fijat or don’t demolish anybody.The law should be applicable to all or, if you do not apply it to almost all, you should not apply it only in the case of your political opponent. So, I would recommend, if you started demolishing Fijat’s building, demolish other buildings as well. You should demonstrate that, but you know, he said this informally; it’s not an official position. Demolish other buildings and demonstrate that it has nothing to do with politics, but that buildings constructed against the law will all be demolished. Otherwise, you will be stuck with the label that only Fijat’s building was demolished because he opposes you politically and supports TV A1, and so. Second, he says, the situation with the media. What did he say about that?…. But that’s treated as regional problem. The first is also treated as regional problem, but you are not the worst in the group. There are much worse than you in the region, both in the first and the second matter, but – he says – these are the things that bother Brussels the most. Now, about the second thing, there’s nothing we can do? Good media regulation, he says, that’s what I recommend. As for the first, if you pursue it in one case, you should pursue it in others. That’s how you will counteract the arguments that only Fijat’s building is demolished, all because he’s your political opponent and supporter of TV A1. The way he puts it, it makes sense, how should I say?
MJ:Yes, it makes.
NG:We have not demolished anything else but Fijat’s building. As if everybody else builds according to the law.
MJ:There’s one building in Gostivar, citizen have lodged lots of complaints, we motioned criminal charges, because the investors build without a construction permit.
MJ:In Gostivar, grandiose building. Bejta mentioned him the other day.
NG:Well, go for it. Don’t wait. Use dynamite. Don’t beat around the bushes again.
MJ:OK. Let me see if there’s something in other towns. Mayors are invited to that thing on Thursday, so maybe I should mention them to start poking around, what you say?
NG:They should poke around.
MG:And make sure that it is well covered in the media.
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.