More Macedonian Police Arrested
Skopje | 04 September 2009 | Sinisa-Jakov Marusic
Macedonian Police Forces
Macedonian Police Forces
A further 15 Macedonian police officers and several customs service employees have been arrested on suspicion of extorting bribes, as a major police sting continues.
All the arrested officers worked at Macedonia’s Kjafasan border crossing with Albania. They are to be brought before an investigative judge.
As part of the operation, the police had previously arrested around 40 border policemen from the Tabanovce crossing with Serbia, also suspected of soliciting and accepting bribes. In the first of three waves of arrests, 22 police officers were arrested last week. In the second, earlier this week, a further 20 officers were taken into custody.
The authorities say the suspects had been under surveillance for several months before their arrests. Police claim they have hard evidence proving their involvement in criminal activities.
The policemen tended to demand money from foreign travelers entering and exiting the country. If marks refused to pay they were left waiting at the border crossing for no reason.
At the end of each shift the officers operating in groups, allegedly divided the money taken in bribes, with each receiving up to 100 euros per day, the Interior Ministry stated earlier.
Published on SETimes (http://www.setimes.com)
Macedonian border officers arrested
Scores of police were demanding bribes at border crossings, delaying travelers for hours if they did not pay.
By Zoran Nikolovski for Southeast European Times in Skopje -- 08/09/09
Over 60 border police and customs officers were arrested for taking bribes. [File]
The The Macedonian interior ministry carried out a sting operation code-named "Boomerang" at the Tabanovce and Kafasan border crossings over the past two weeks.
In three separate raids, it arrested 58 border police and three customs officers. Criminal charges were filed against the officers for seeking and taking bribes and for organised crime.
"Boomerang is an operation which we have undertaken since the beginning of 2009 ... as a result of the series of reactions which we received one way or another," explained Interior Minister Gordana Jankulovska.
"Practically, this operation shows that the struggle against corruption and crime is not easy, we have to persevere and that struggle must be not selective," she said. "We are very determined to persevere in this struggle to the end."
In the first raid, 22 police officers were arrested at the Tabanovce border crossing with Serbia on August 25th. The officers were suspected of demanding bribes ranging between 5 and 50 euros in exchange for speeding up the border control process. The most frequent targets were foreign nationals, and especially tourist buses.
The officers worked as a group and shared the estimated daily gain of 100 euros per person at the end of their shift. Jankulovska confirmed that shift supervisors were the masterminds of the illegal activities. Police documented that after a shift, the officers apportioned the daily "earnings" based on "merit".
Police operatives with the ministry's department for organised crime followed the corrupt officers for nearly eight months until they amassed sufficient evidence to execute the arrests. They found large sums of foreig
n currency, which border officers are forbidden from holding while at work. The second raid was conducted on September 1st at the same crossing where 20 police officers were arrested. Their scheme was the same as in the first case -- travelers who wanted to cross the border in a timely fashion had to fork over money, while those who refused to pay were left waiting for hours.
Finally, 16 police officers and three customs officers were busted in a raid at the Kjafasan border crossing with Albania. They allegedly had been taking bribes in exchange for allowing Albanian nationals seeking work in Greece to cross without possessing valid passports. The "fees" ranged between 400 and 600 euros per vehicle.
Officers also charged between 50 and 100 euros to turn a blind eye to vehicles without passenger insurance, taxis without taxi transportation licenses, and trucks with loads heavier than prescribed by law, or to allow multiple cargo vehicles to cross with one permit pass.
Bribes were sought and taken to "expedite" the customs procedures or to enable cargo vehicles to avoid paying customs duties for goods transported between Bulgaria and Albania, or by charging larger customs duties than prescribed by law.
The third group's leader was also a shift supervisor. Each participant made between 50 and 150 euros a day.
Boomerang was conducted according to a request by the public prosecutor's office and a court order by the Skopje Court No. 1 investigative judge.
Freitag, 4. September 2009
Mazedonien verhaftet zahlreiche Polizisten wegen Bestechlichkeit am Tabanovce Grenzübergang zum Kosovo
Eingestellt von navy um 07:15