Ageler: The country is facing an epidemic of corruption, I assure you the blacklist will expand
US Ambassador to the country Angela Ageler today he stated that there are different ways and in different stages to express the displeasure of the persons that the USA moves to the "black list". Today, during her visit to Krivolak, she answered journalistic questions regarding the announcements of former Vice Prime Minister Kocho Angjushev that he will appeal the decision of the State Department, which put him on the "black list" due to significant corruption. She reiterated that the list will be expanded with new people, but did not say when or with whom, stressing that she could not predict what Washington would decide.
"There are different stages and different ways in which people who are on the "black list" can report dissatisfaction, but in any case we have announced a sanction. This sanction has been imposed and this is not something we take lightly and implement lightly, but we still follow the positive legal regulations of the United States in imposing such sanctions. I assure you all that there will be other names. There is no specific time frame when they will be published," said Ageler, adding that there is an epidemic of corruption in the country, which needs to be prevented.
The US State Department announced on Tuesday that it is designating Kocho Angjushev as generally ineligible for entry into the United States, due to his involvement in significant corruption.
"While serving as Deputy Prime Minister, Angjushev abused his official position in favor of his private business interests, undermining the confidence of the North Macedonian public in their government institutions and public processes," the State Department said in a statement.
This designation, the State Department points out, confirms the commitment of the United States to fight corruption, which harms the public interest, hinders the economic prosperity of countries and reduces the ability of governments to effectively respond to the needs of their people.
Ageler announced the same day through the X platform, stressing that the appointment of Kocho Angjushev is another proof that the United States will continue to sanction corrupt actors in the country and in the region, regardless of their position, political affiliation or the time of the abuses.
"More appointments will follow, but the fact is that our efforts and our sanctions cannot fix the corruption epidemic in North Macedonia." After all, it is up to the officials and citizens of this country to demand responsibility and change," Ageler announced at the time on the X platform.
The spokeswoman of the US State Department, Morgan Ortagus, welcomed and praised the decision of the Albanian Government to expel two Iranian diplomats from the country.
Angjushev, however, in a statement to the media, denied all doubts expressed by the State Department and announced that he would appeal the decision. He also points out that he has companies in the United States as well, and as he says, he is an American taxpayer.
"I strongly deny all the doubts expressed in the document published by the honorable State Department and I want to announce that I will appeal the decision and will use all the legal remedies specified in the document itself in the direction of withdrawing this decision, which I consider unnecessary within the framework of the efforts of our friends, the USA, to fight against corruption," Angjushev said.
In the meantime, the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs terminated the position of Honorary Consul of Malta to the former Deputy Prime Minister, Kocho Angjushev, due to his transfer to the "black list" of the United States, "Times of Malta" reported.
The spokesperson of the Maltese MFA stated in a statement to "The Times of Malta" that the Ministry has never received any negative information about Angjushev since his appointment in 2021.
- In view of such developments, the Ministry is terminating his appointment, which comes into effect immediately, and is closely monitoring the latest developments, he said.
Angjushev, on the other hand, today, through a statement, thanked, as he says, friendly Malta, for the honor of being an honorary consul, but states that considering the decision of the State Department, which he does not agree with, but appreciates and accepts, he believes that is able, nor should Malta have an Honorary Consul with a shadow to his name.
"I thank friendly Malta for the honor of being the honorary consul of an EU member in North Macedonia from 2021. In view of the decision of the Honorable State Department towards me, with allegations which I do not agree with, but which I appreciate and accept as a decision, I do not consider myself able, nor should Malta have an Honorary Consul with a shadow to his name, as even if she is unjustified. As long as these allegations are not changed, I do not want and cannot represent myself on behalf of any state or institution," Angjushev emphasizes in a statement to the media.