Former Macedonian PM Jailed
A criminal court in Skopje found former Macedonian Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski guilty, along with four others, of misusing state funds and sentenced him to three years in jail, according to the website Balkan Insight.
The 2001 scheme involved the illegal procurement of spare parts for T-55 tanks from the MZT company. According to authorities, it cost the country’s budget over two million euro. The trial began in 2007.
Buckovski served as prime minister from 2004 to 2006. He denied that he acquired four times the necessary spare parts for the tanks, insisting that the parts were crucial for national security. At the time, there was a brief military conflict between Macedonian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels.
The defendants argued that they did not damage the state budget with the procurement of the parts because they can still be sold. In January, the army’s general staff confirmed that the parts were being stored in military warehouses.
This ruling follows an appeals court decision that reversed an earlier ruling that sentenced Buckovski to three and a half years in jail.
The former chief of staff of the Macedonian Army, General Metodij Stamboliski, and MZT manager Mitre Petkovski received three-year sentences. Former army logistics officer Nelko Menkinovski and former defense ministry employee Aco Gjurcevski received two-year sentences.
All five have a right to appeal the ruling.