The Ministry of Interior of North Macedonia issued an international arrest warrant on Monday afternoon for the former head of UBK, Sašo Mijalkov, who has been missing since yesterday afternoon, as the police failed to deliver the decision for his house arrest, which was taken as a precautionary measure by the Criminal Court at the request of the prosecutor.
The disappearance of Nikola Gruevski’s former strongman and former VMRO-DPMNE member has sparked a flurry of reactions both at the political level and on social media.
Sašo Mijalkov is one of the accused for illegal telephone wiretaps of more than 20 thousand citizens during the period 2008-2015. According to the indictment, through three communications monitoring systems by UBK, 4,286 telephone numbers were illegally monitored for which no court orders had been issued.
In its final statement on the “Fortress Target” case, as the wiretapping scandal has been called, the prosecutor’s office demanded a maximum sentence for Sašo Mijalkov with the decision to be announced on Friday, February 26.
The President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski called for an investigation as soon as possible into how Sašo Mijalkov escaped, to shed light on the case and whether there are omissions by the competent bodies to take responsibility.
“Such developments are unacceptable for a country waiting to start accession negotiations with the European Union and working hard to reform the judiciary and build trust in the rule of law. This discredits efforts and hopes to tackle crime and corruption at the highest levels”, Pendarovski said.
The President of North Macedonia stressed that the institutions had to take all measures to implement the decision to place the former director of UBK under house arrest.
“Citizens demand responsibility, both criminally and morally. The struggle for the rule of law means that anyone who has broken the law must be punished”, President Pendarovski stressed.
VMRO-DPMNE Vice President Alexandar Nikoloski in a press conference blamed the government for the escape of Sašo Mijalkov, saying that the rumored coalition between Zaev and Mijalkov has now become real.
“The alliance of Vice Zaev, Zoran Zaev and Saso Mijalkov in October 2018, has now been confirmed. In October 2018, when we ousted Mijalkov from VMRO-DPMNE, we publicly stated that there was a secret alliance, which not only for these three years, but also 15 years ago was working to destroy Macedonia”, Nikoloski said.
“The reward came this weekend, allowing him to evade justice. We currently have a fugitive. Spasovski is silent, Shekerinska is nowhere to be found and Zaev is shifting responsibility”, Nikoloski said.
“Macedonia is governed by a criminal alliance. That is why we are waiting for him to be brought to justice in the next 24 hours”, Nikoloski said, adding that he did not expect them to do so.
“Obviously there is an agreement on the conditions under which he is allowed to escape or negotiate the terms under which he will be extradited. So I do not expect him to be handed over. This government must resign today”, Nikoloski said.
The State Department also took a stand on the escape of Sašo Mijalkov with a statement by his spokesman to the Voice of America, where he noted that “we are familiar with the reports and are closely monitoring the situation”./ibna