RFE/RL: REC "Bitola" awarded dozens of tenders to its employees close to SDSM

Rek Bitola
Rec Bitola / Photo AD Power Plants of Northern Macedonia

The largest Macedonian electricity producer, the thermal power plant REK "Bitola" has in recent years awarded a series of tenders to the company "Kompas MSF", whose only client is the state company, writes Radio Free Europe (RFE).

"Kompass MSF", whose owner and her husband are employees of REK Bitola, does not stop receiving contracts from the state company, despite the obvious conflict of interests, and so far has received tenders worth around one million and 900 thousand euros, RSE reports.

The last contract, signed on June 28, is for the purchase of electric fuses and fuse holders worth 542.800 denars or about 8800 euros.

The company is for production, wholesale and retail trade and was established in June, 2009 in Bitola. Its owner, according to the data of the Central Registry, is Letka Fidanovska, who is employed at REK Bitola. It is her husband Mende Fidanovski, who is not only an employee, but is also the president of the trade union organization of REC Bitola.

The headquarters of the company and the address of Fidanovska are in the same place, on the street "Cvetan Dimov" no. 181, where there is a house with two floors without any trace of Kompas MSF. Letka Fidanovska has been signed on all contracts with REC Bitola as the director of the company until March 2020. Then she figures only as the owner of the company, and becomes the director Martin Fidanovski, which also has the same residential address as Letka Fidanovska and as the company's headquarters.

The director of AD ESM, the state-owned parent company of REC "Bitola", Vasko Kovacevski, says that there is no violation of the legal provisions in the case. According to him, they neither can nor must limit which companies will apply for the tenders and work transparently and accountable.

"If there is any failure either in the operation of AD ESM or REK Bitola or in the operation of the mentioned company, I hereby call on all competent institutions or investigative bodies to check whether those procedures were carried out in accordance with the laws and procedures and whether there was any violation". says Kovacevski when asked by RFE if there is a conflict of interest in the tenders.

The State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption says that they will consider the issue of whether there is a conflict of interest in the awarding of tenders to "Kompas MSF".

In 2020, according to the Official Gazette of the Municipality of Bitola, Letka Fidanovska was appointed as a member of the electoral board for polling station 0028 at the proposal of the ruling SDSM party. A year later, her husband Mende was also appointed to the same polling station as a deputy member at the suggestion of SDSM.

In 2018, Fidanovski became the first person in the fight for the promotion of the first workers in REC Bitola, while the director is Vasko Kovacevski. Since then, the cooperation of the mining and energy combine with his wife's company has been the most fruitful, receiving 43 tenders. Their total value is about 1 million two hundred thousand euros.

Since 2013, "Kompas MSF" has received a total of 86 tenders, and only one contract is not related to REC "Bitola", reports RSE.

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