Tenth anniversary: the biggest corruption scandal with telecommunications is still in the phase of “preliminary investigation”
One of the biggest corruption scandals of the three former managers of the state telecommunications company Makedonski Telekom is marked by lengthy processes that have lasted for a decade.
According to court documents revealed by BIRN in 2014, the previous government of the Social Democrats in North Macedonia entered into a secret agreement with Magyar Telekom to protect MakTel’s virtual monopoly. The deal assumed that leading North Macedonian officials were to keep the emerging competition out of the telecommunications market, with a reward of millions of Euro. In addition, they were to raise money through fake consulting and marketing contracts.
The involvement of leading politicians in the process was confirmed by North Macedonia’s intelligence officer, Slobodan Bogoevski, who said that bribes totalled 7.5 million Euro to curb more competition in the telecommunications market.
The prosecutor later identified them as former prime minister Vlad Buckovsky, Ali Ahmeti, the Democratic Union for Integration leader and former deputy prime minister Musa Xhaferi.
In 2011, a lengthy process of damaging MakTel, amounting to almost 4 million Euro, has started. The three indicted Hungarian nationals, who were former directors of MakTel at the time, were inaccessible at nearly every hearing. No hearing has taken place since 2016.
In ten years, three judges and three prosecutors were replaced in a single case. In addition, they spent years in the field of legal correspondence due to the unavailability of defendants. According to available court estimates, the process is likely to end at the end of 2021, but appeals may continue until 2022.