The Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) has insisted that all political parties stop abusing the investigative proceedings in case dubbed “Phoenix” or any other action by the office for political purposes.

The PPO reminds all political stakeholders of the message that the U.S. Department of State issued a couple of days ago, which read “the leaders in Macedonia must demonstrate strong, tangible results in the fight against corruption, by enhancing institutional independence and limiting political interference, especially in the judiciary, which is of essential importance for the fulfillment of the EU accession goals and building the citizens’ trust in the Government”.

“The prosecutor’s office for organized crime and corruption and the prosecutor in the case are undertaking actions to secure evidence, guided by the principles of fairness and protection of the presumption of innocence,” says the PPO.

On the public comments and speculation over the timing of the case, the PPO says the material-financial expertise was submitted on June 1 and forwarded to the prosecutor four days later. On June 12, the prosecutor filed an order to the Ministry of Interior for preparation of all measures required for realization of the criminal case.

On June 29, the prosecutor was informed over the phone that one of the suspects had been stopped at a border crossing in an attempt to leave the country.

“Therefore, it was necessary to urgently launch actions related to the case,” says the PPO.

Several former officials are a part of the investigation led against 15 individuals, launched Friday by the Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday under the codename “Phoenix”. The suspects include Macedonian, as well as, Italian citizens, who are under suspicion of abuse of office and money laundering related to the procurement of a part of the “Skopje 2014” monuments. They include former PM Nikola Gruevski, former ministers of finance and culture, Zoran Stavreski and Elizabeta Kancheska-Milevska, former Centar mayors Violeta Alarova and Vladimir Todorovikj, who has been placed under house, as well as former Centar council president Vladimir Zdravev, who has been detained.