Counterspin: Minister Tupančeski Can Go Watch a Match in Palermo, but at His Own Expense!
Tupančeski does not feel moral or ethical responsibility because he went to the football match in Palermo at the expense of FFM. Wanting to justify something that is not justifiable, he spins, tries to relativize the whole situation and says, “I am just part of the big delegation of journalists, medical teams, guests, who travel and I am only an integral part of the delegation!” The question is how did he, as a member of the Government, find himself among the people who were treated by FFM and got a ticket for the match in Palermo? It is problematic and inappropriate for a holder of high state office
Author: Olivera Vojnovska
The Minister of Justice, Nikola Tupančeski, in a statement for the portal “A1on” spun the truth about the costs of his trip to Palermo for the football match between Italy – Macedonia and, among other things, said the following:
Spin: Charter flight is not included, not at all, because even if you want the charter flight to be included, it cannot be on. There is a way to organize the trip. The people who organize the trip should select the people who travel. I am just one of the large delegation of journalists, medical teams, guests, traveling and I am just an integral part of the delegation. I even have to tell you that the part that is paid, is paid at my insistence because I thought it should be so.
To the remark of the journalist that it means that he did not pay for the VIP card for the football match, the minister explains:
I will explain once again. We are talking about a procedure that is pre-determined by the Football Federation. They have the key to how they get tickets. The ticket I received was in my name and it is 00 euros. Do you understand me? Even if you want to pay, and there is proof of that, the ticket is practically priceless.
Asked what is the price of the flight, Tupancheski answered:
It was a charter flight, organized for all the guests of the Football Federation.
[Source: A1 on; date: 05.04.2022]
Counterspin: In this statement, the Minister of Justice Tupančeski actually admits that he did not pay the tickets for the charter flight and the VIP section at the “Renzo Barbera” stadium in Palermo, from where he encouraged the Macedonian national team in the match with Italy. This statement of Tupančeski is contrary to his previous claim that in Palermo, in the semifinals of the playoff for the World Cup, he paid his own expenses.
The Minister has said this several times in the past ten days. First, on March 25, 2022, after being called by the public, but also by the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Tupančeski told “Fokus”:
Of course, I was in Italy at my own expense.
Shortly after this statement, the Minister on March 28, 2022, in an appearance at “Morning briefing” said again that he paid the expenses for Palermo from his own pocket:
Two components apply, namely whether I have traveled to Palermo on business and the second component is who covered the costs. The answer to the first question is “No, I did not travel on business”, and the second component on who paid the expenses: “I paid the expenses from my transaction account”
Emphasizing that there is nothing unethical in his action, Tupančeski will also emphasise:
I did not use budget funds, I did not use an official vehicle, I did not use security, and I covered the expenses myself. I’m a big football fan…
Tupančeski claimed that he paid the expenses for Palermo himself a few days later (April 1, 2022) in the show “Trilling” on “TV24”:
As a professor of criminal law, I will categorically answer that there is no responsibility. I repeat, my trip to Palermo was not within my official duties. I deny that there is anything unethical, the expenses related to this trip were delivered to me by the agency that organized the trip, it was paid from my transaction account…
After a series of reactions, the Minister of Justice now says that the ticket for the charter flight to Palermo and the ticket for the VIP section for the barrage match Italy-Macedonia, were free, i.e. paid by the Football Federation of Macedonia. He paid only hotel accommodation from his personal income four days after the match, after he returned to Macedonia.
Tupančeski does not feel moral or ethical responsibility because he went to the football match in Palermo at the expense of FFM. Wanting to justify something that is not justifiable, he spins, tries to relativize the whole situation and says, “I am just part of the big delegation of journalists, medical teams, guests, who travel and I am only an integral part of the delegation!”
Why is it important that the delegation was large and with a colorful composition?! The question is how did he, as a member of the Government, find himself among the people who were treated by FFM for a trip and a ticket for the match in Palermo? It is problematic and inappropriate for a holder of a high state position. Although Tupančeski wants to convince us that being “on the plane to Palermo” is the most normal thing, because “according to written and unwritten rules, the football team always organizes such trips”!
At the very least, it seems strange for a Minister of Justice to receive gifts of any kind, even in the form of a ticket for a football match in Palermo with a price of “0” (zero) denars and a free plane ticket Skopje-Palermo-Skopje. In reality, nothing is free, everything has its price, including Tupančeski’s trip to Italy, which was paid by FFM and in this case puts him in a delicate situation that could compromise his position.
It is indisputable that the minister can attend any matches, here or abroad, but to pay the bill themselves. Apart from the delegation led by FFM, there must have been another way – in a private direction, for the Minister of Justice to arrive in Palermo and as a big football fan, as he says, to watch the match.
APPLAUSE FOR THE MINISTER!
A weak “consolation” is that Tupancheski paid the accommodation bill from his own pocket:
“I even have to tell you that this part, which is paid, is paid at my insistence,” he said.
However, this is not something unusual, but it is understood that when someone stays in a hotel they have to pay their bill and there is no need to stress this. Should the Minister of Justice be applauded for this now?!
He is convinced that his trip to Italy for a football match did not violate any legal or ethical norms because he travelled outside of his official duties and did not use budget money.
The Code of Ethics for members of the Government and holders of public office appointed by the Government, however, clearly states that ministers may not receive gifts except in certain cases.
In this sense, Article 17 of the Code, which refers to “receiving gifts”, states:
Holders of executive functions in the performance of their functions and duties may not receive gifts, except in cases, in the amount and manner determined by the Law on Use and Disposal of State-Owned and Municipal Property and the Law on Prevention of Corruption and conflict of interest. Holders of executive functions may not request, receive or allow another person on their behalf or for their benefit to give or receive a gift, service or any other value, assistance or other benefit in connection with the performance of the function, i.e. duty, and which could influence or in any way compromise their judgment or place them in inadequate subordination and obligation.
Whereas, Article 12 of the Code states that public officials should not be in a situation of conflict between the public and private interests. In this regard, the first paragraph of this article states that:
Holders of executive functions, in the exercise of their powers and duties, shall avoid any conflict between the public and private interest, i.e. bringing a state of suspicion of the existence of a conflict of interest.
The government has also stated that in this case, which threatens to turn into a scandal, there is a violation of ethical rules. The Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Good Governance Policies, Slavica Grkovska, has already sent a written warning to Minister Tupančeski for non-compliance with Article 12 and Article 17 of the Code of Ethics for members of the Government and holders of public office appointed by the Government.
This article has been produced within the project Fact-Checking the Progress of North Macedonia towards the EU, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, originally published by Truthmeter,, is made possible by the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The content of this article is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, NED or their partners.