With just a few months before the early elections, the Innovations Fund (FITR) announced it will award new grants to private companies. FITR is notorious for giving money to politically linked “innovators”, including companies directly linked to members of the Government and Parliament and supporters of the SDSM party in the press.

The latest round of grants will total 10 million denars (163.000 EUR) which will be divided into grants meant to fund 30 percent of innovative projects by companies (who are required to invest the remaining 70 percent). The Fund was forced to introduce outside oversight in its awarding process after numerous allegations of outright corruption.

Previous recipients include companies owned by Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angusev, SDSM member of Parliament Hari Lokvenec, journalist Goran Mihajlovski… More recent scandals included giving a grant of more than 200.000 EUR to the brother of an outspoken supporter of the SDSM party in the media, Saso Ordanoski, to a company that listed as its invention an air quality monitoring device that is already on sale by an Indian company. And finally, a company that was owned by the family of outgoing Prime Minister Zoran Zaev was given 210.000 EUR by FITR.