Vecer reports that the Interior Ministry rushed a contract with the German Veridos company to print new Macedonian passports, with numerous violations of procedures which raise concerns of foul play. The nearly 20 million EUR contract was approved in early December, shortly before the Ministry was placed under opposition management to avoid the further abuse of the police in the run up to the elections.

Veridos is heir of the Giescke and Devrient company which used to hold the long running printing contract, which also frequently caused allegations of corruption. According to Vecer, in the latest extension of the contract the Ministry solicited only one bid – from Veridos, and formed a commission to rubber stamp it. Never the less, the commission was dramatically overhauled over a period of several months, with most of its members being removed and replaced with others.

The revamped commission met in early October and agreed to prepare a bid for a new contract.
In the mad rush to approve the contract, a number of errors were made. A framework agreement for the contract was dated in the archives one day prior to the decision to order the preparation of such an agreement. A Deputy Minister didn’t wait on the commission to prepare its report and approved the offer. And an advance payment of four million EUR was made, far above the legally allowed amount, Vecer reported.

The Ministry is currently managed by the interim Interior Minister Nake Culev, who announced that he will be revealing evidence of illegal actions by his predecessor, Oliver Spasovski, shortly.