Faced with a dramatic drop in public trust in the judiciary, state prosecutors, including newly appointed chief prosecutor Ljupco Kocevski, and the controversial head of the organized crime unit Islam Abazi, came out today to assure the citizens that they are still working on some of the best known corruption scandals.

A bevy of politically motivated cases launched against former VMRO-DPMNE officials, collapsed in court these past months, after the SDSM – DUI coalition adopted a law that greatly reduces the terms in which high level corruption cases reach the statute of limitations, and even removed one broad clause that was often used in these cases entirely. A major case that was expected to include SDSM and DUI officials and managers of the Macedonian Telekom also reached the statute of limitations, under the SDSM – DUI coalition led by Dimitar Kovacevski – a former Telekom manager.

DUI party appointed organized crime prosecutor Abazi held a press briefing today in which he promised that he will investigate the corruption allegations over the major highway deal that DUI party officials negotiated with the US Bechtel company. Prosecutor Katerina Kolarovic, who is leading this case, noted it will last a long time given the complexity of the contract negotiated by First Deputy Prime Minister Artan Grubi.

Abazi also said that he will continue to prosecute former state security chief Saso Mijalkov and a group of major businessmen in the case named “Empire”, even though DUI was suspected of trying to sabotage these cases in the hope that it will create a division in VMRO-DPMNE ahead of the elections.

Abazi gave broad information about the activities against two rival Albanian narco mafia groups – the Baron/Belanoca group and the Grcec/Dukandzik group, who are engaged in open warfare in the streets of Skopje and in neighboring Greece, with murders carried out every other month.

Abazi said that the Soravia corruption scandal is in the “pre-investigation” stage. This case is aimed directly at DUI party leader Ali Ahmeti, whose nephew Drin Ahmeti was practically gifted a major share of the Soravia business center, with no money down on his part. Abazi comes from Ahmeti’s village of Zajas and is seen as his chosen candidate for the position of organized crime investigator, so hopes here are not high. One specific answer Abazi gave was that he launched an investigation into DUI party official Ramiz Merko, who is Mayor of Struga, and was recently put on a US black list for perversion of justice. The Parliament is considering a law that would launch automatic investigations into officials put on a US black list, and would ban them from winning public contracts or running for office.