Special Prosecution Opens Case “Fortress” Against Senior Police Officials in Macedonia

Time: 6:20 p.m. CEST

Photography, video and text by Aleksandra Dukovska

A prosecutor Lence Ristovska points out to the flip chart with a graphics for the dates suspected officials in the Ministry of Interior formed Commission to destroy surveillance equipment and systems. Skopje, March 30, 2016.

Crowed with reporters, photojournalists and cameramen, the news conference room at the temporary premises at the Public Prosecutor for crimes related and which arise from the content of the illegal interception of the communication was not large enough for everyone interested to heard the news on new investigation. After everyone who arrived showed their ID’s to the police, the head of the prosecution, Katica Janeva opened the news conference with parts of the Reinhard Priebe’s report on the needed reform for the counterintelligence services in Macedonia.

After it, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor and a prosecutor, Lence Ristovska extensively elaborated the new case they are investigating. Named as “Fortress,” the case touches, as Ristovska explained the destruction of the system and equipment used for communication monitoring.

“The suspects,” according to Lence Ristovska are, two heads of the Department of Security and Counterintelligence at the Ministry of Interior in the first half of 2015 exceeded the limits of their official authority. Ristovska said, “Intentionally, with the aid of the chief suspect in one of the units in the office, they destroyed the systems for communication monitoring and caused the damage to the state assets in the amount of 10,000,000,00 euros or 615,000,000,00 denars. As Ristovska said, the suspects acted solely in the official capacity, but stepped beyond the limits of their official authority.

Those are the dates, Ristovska pointed out as a timeline of events in the Ministry, as part of their investigation.

  • “On March 23, 2015, then the Minister of Interior, established a Commission for the inventory, write off, destruction and deletion of records from the list of the systems and technical equipment in the Security and Intelligence, regardless the existing regulation for handling the classified information without a specific legal basis for the establishment of a commission for destruction of equipment.”
  • “On March 26, 2015, the Commission acceded to the inventory of systems and technical equipment but only in the Department of operative – technical support operations. The following day, on March 27, 2015, the persons responsible for handling system for monitoring the communications turned off the system for the interception of communications, which was in use at that period. On March 28, 2015 they load the systems, subject of the inventory, including both systems for monitoring of the communications.”
  • “From the Ministry of Interior, the systems and equipment were transferred to the scrap metal waste site, where the members of the Commission were present. The first and fourth suspect provided logistical support to implement the destruction and they gave an order to another person to document the event. Members of the Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, currently unknown to the investigation, observed the destroying of the equipment until April 3, 2015.”
  • “On April 3, 2015, without knowledge and the presence of all members of the Commission and after an order of the first suspect, part of the Commission members loaded the already destroyed systems and rushed to another legal entity, where they put the systems and equipment in a crasher and were again crushed. The Commission prepared a report, but until now, there is no evidence as to whether this report was submitted to then Director of the Security and Intelligence and to the Interior Minister.”
  • “Once the person who conducted the video and photo documentation of the event placed them on DVD and gave them to the fourth suspect, he destroyed them in order to cover the traces. The second suspect submitted a letter to the Financial Affairs Department at the Ministry of Interior, to efface everything from the equipment and systems from the data lists from the security and counterintelligence.”

Ristovska said, “This letter was drafted with the intention to show the need for the destruction with the date from earlier period, than March 2015, when it was conducted. The letter was information to inform the Department of the coordination for the reported need to establish a Commission for inventory, write off, destruction and deletion of records, technical obsolescence and dysfunctional systems. Although, the letter was from the period of 2015 to 2016, the fifth suspect enter the letter at the end of the log book of 2014 with entering false data on the day of the letter and the archive number.”

Ristovska said that she cannot answer which kind of equipment the Counterintelligence department now uses and if that is the equipment mentioned in the reported intercepted conversations disclosed by the opposition last year. Citing the classification she also said that in the following procedure of the investigation they would reveal more details. Ristovska did not answer to the question whether they found in the phase of the investigation a written order for the reported interception of the communication. Ristovska mentioned no names during the news conference.

The mentioned official is still working at the Ministry of Interior and he was to the Primary Court Skopje 1 in Skopje during the day. The questioning, as Plusinfo.mk informed in the evening ended after more than six hours. The Prosecution announced a written statement. Earlier, the Primary Court 1 in Skopje did not issue a search warrant for the home of the first suspect, citing that they did not give precise description for the objects they what to seise. Katica Janeva, head of the Prosecution appealed to all who posses the illegal material to give to the prosecution and appealed for non-publishing of the conversations of private nature, which was the issue in the last days, when some of the conversations were uploaded online, including those of private nature.

Note: Journalism photo and video, no other use.

Related news:

Detention for high-ranking police official – The Judge of the Primary Court Skopje 1 Skopje approved the request for 30 days detention, while the lawyer of the detained police official G.G. appealed the decision.


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