IBNA Special Report
Skopje, November 11, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Naser Pajaziti
The increased number of raids by tax inspectorates accompanied by police special forces in Albanian inhabited areas, have aggravated relations between coalition partners in FYROM.
In the recent days, every night, tax inspectors have conducted inspections accompanied by special police forces in Albanian inhabited areas, in order to make sure that the tax law and anti-smoking law are being complied with.
But, this situation has been considered as provoking and worrying, due to the presence of special units, which have entered every bar and their presence has disturbed customers. The Tax Directorate and Ministry of Interior say that the presence of these units is to guarantee the safety of tax inspectors, who in some cases have been victims of attacks.
Bar owners say that what’s happening is terror and that it’s intolerable for special forces to enter bars and terrorize the customers.
“I don’t know why it’s necessary to send special units, when there are normal police officers. Nobody touches inspectors, because we have laws and everyone is held accountable before justice in case of violence or incidents. But, what’s happening is a campaign to show strength and provoke Albanians in the areas where they live”, says for IBNA a bar owner, who prefers to remain anonymous for fear of his safety.
Citizens say that the presence of police has been unnecessary. They claim that this can cause incidents, due to the panic spreading among the population.
“Police didn’t allow customers to get in. In several bars, there have been women who used to be intimidated, because there were 10-15 police officers with Kalashnikovs in their hands. But, they didn’t do the same with Macedonian shops”, says a resident from the commune of Saraji, in Skopje.
Albanian ministers in the governing cabinet have reacted against this campaign. Bekim Neziri, minister of Economy told IBNA that he’s concerned and that such intervention of inspectorates with special units is not tolerated.
“This is intolerable and in the next government meeting, we will ask who is ordering these operations and inspections and why special forces are being sent. We’re not against inspections, but intervention through special units threatens the image of the business and is a concern for the citizens”, says Neziri. He said that in the quality of minister, he will ask for explanations in the next government meeting.
Spokesman of the ministry of Interior, Ivo Kotevski says that these actions are coordinated among several institutions and there’s no need for concern or comments.
“The operation has been coordinated with several state institutions. The ministry of Interior has acted based on its powers, in cooperation with other institutions. So far, we have not received any complaints by the citizens for exceeding our powers or use of force. What’s important is for inspections to be carried out without incidents”, declared Ivo Kotevski.
So far, such inspections have been conducted in cities such as Tetovo, Gostivar, Saraj, Kumanovo, Diber and the rural communes of Likovo, Studenican and Saraj in Skopje. These operations are taking place at a time when PM Nikola Gruevski and a part of the ministers of his party are holding a tour in the USA to attract US investors. /ibna/