Macedonian CSOs under state's investigation

Skopje, Macedonia; Photo: WikiComons/Raso mk

meta_maliSKOPJE – More than 20 civil organizations are still being investigated by the Public Revenue Office (UJP) inspectors, and what is worrying is that in the last week, 13 organizations were visited by inspectors of the Financial police and of the Ministry of Interior upon the request of the Public Prosecution Office (OJO), for a preliminary investigation on an unknown basis, said today the executive director of the “Open Society” Foundation, Fani Karanfilova – Panovska, after promoting the “Civil Alliance for Transparency – Observing the process of reforming of the Public Administration on part of the civil organizations,” Meta reports.

The way they conduct the procedures, tells that they demand everything and that they don’t know what to look for. Especially in the last three days from the organizations that are investigated are taken documents about payments and inflows made by USAID – said Karanfilova-Panovska, saying that they were investigating the finances granted to civil organizations, but not assets that were donated to state institutions.

She remarked that judging from the current situation and the intensity and the instruments that are being used, their goal is to try and create a case of misuse of funds. She stressed that if the situation carries on and the political crisis is not resolved soon, civil organizations can become serious collateral damage even though all this time they have worked in the interest of the citizens.

When asked whether they expect the new government to protect the civil organizations, Karanfilova-Panovska said that “at the moment we don’t have a government, but we have institutions that are led by illegitimate representatives”.

– If the political crisis is not resolved soon, this will be a misuse on part of the institutions in a situation where in Macedonia there is no information who does what. We don’t know whether there is a legitimate representative of any level of authority. The only legitimate representative, formally, is the President Gjorge Ivanov, who with his last two decisions completely de-legitimized himself in the eyes of the people – said Karanfilova-Panovska.

The executive director of “Eurothink” Bojan Marichikj, stressed that they still don’t know the reason for the inspections and what the authorities are searching for.

We expect a new government to be formed which will stop the institutional political pressure that was announced in VMRO-DPMNE’s proclamation”, said Marichikj.

He said that his organization has become a target of inspections after being a guest on “Top Tema” TV debate, during which there was a fierce discussion and two of the participants left the show.

The warrant for the control of USAID funds is dated the 7th of March, a day after that show. You can make your own conclusions, as I can’t say openly that it is connected. There are too many similarities during this period to call them coincidences – Marichikj.

Previously, EU Ambassador, Samuel Žbogar said that the institutions, which have to be independent, are targeting the civil sector.