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The father on the blacklist from the USA, the son of the Albanian politician receives a license for the opening of the Faculty of Health Sciences

The father on the blacklist from the USA, the son of the Albanian politician

The International University of Struga in North Macedonia, which is partially owned by the son of the mayor of this municipality, Ramiz Merko, Genc Merko has received the license to open the Faculty of Health Sciences.

This has caused numerous reactions in the public opinion as it concerns persons included in the American blacklist, due to suspicions of involvement in corruption and organized crime.

The decision was given by the outgoing Minister of Education, Jeton Shaqiri, member of the Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), who before being appointed to this position was a professor at the University of Struga.

The decision was signed by the Technical Prime Minister from DUI, Talat Xhaferi, while it was published in the Official Gazette on April 15 of this year during the pre-election campaign.

It states that "this faculty offers two study programs: General Nursing Studies and Health Care Studies, from the first cycle of professional studies".

Studies in this direction, according to the decision published in the official newspaper, will be conducted in the Macedonian and Albanian languages.

The information about the new license for the opening of the faculty comes on the eve of the formation of the new government, which will consist of VMRO-DPMNE, the VLEN coalition and the ZNAM Movement.

The Agency for the Quality of Higher Education says that the procedure for the accreditation of study programs is underway and then this institution of higher education will be able to start work.

The coalition of Albanian parties VLEN, which will be part of the new government, through a written communiqué says that this university is known for the "production" of emergency diplomas, where, as they claim, "over the years and overnight, more than half of DUI officials".

"This university, known as the "University of Merko", which is led by Armend Kadriovski, is known for the 'production' of diplomas, as a university where over the years, in one night, more than half of DUI officials graduated - as well as many members of the families of the officials who were then employed in various institutions", says the announcement of VLEN.

This university has also been known by the reactions in Albania where it was claimed that "many Albanian officials have been awarded diplomas and scientific titles at the University of Struga".

The VLEN coalition warns that after the formation of the new government, they will investigate all cases of "selling diplomas and the functioning of the university".

In June of last year, the United States of America placed Ramiz Merko on the "black list" of persons who are prohibited from entering the United States.

"Merko squandered funds and interfered in judicial and other public proceedings, damaging the public's trust in the democratic institutions and officials of North Macedonia", it was said in the announcement of the US Department of State, on June 20, 2023.

The sanction also applies to Merko's wife, Shpresa, and his three adult children, Genci, Nazmija and Drenusha.

Merko's immediate family is considered "ineligible" for entry into the US.

The Basic Prosecutor's Office in Struga and Skopje filed two charges against Merko in March of this year.

The first for inadequate work in the exercise of the duty and the second for the purchase of the "Audi A6" company car.

The Prosecutor's Office for the prosecution of organized crime and corruption on February 29 in the Criminal Court of Skopje submitted the charge of misuse of official position and authority.

According to her, if Ramiz Merko is found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison./REL

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