President Lied in the Parliament of Georgia!
President Saakashvili said during his speech in the parliament that the Financial Times said Georgia is number 1 reformer state in the world. Mathias Huter of the Transparency International – Georgia said he checked archives of both online and printed versions of the Financial Times but could not find any article which could confirm Saakashvili’s statement.
Supposedly, President Saakashvili meant the advertisement published by the Financial Times whose price was covered by the government of Georgia; the advertisement aimed to invite more foreign investments in Georgia,” said Mathias Huter in his letter on the website of teh TI-Georgia.
In his 2011 State of the Nation speech, President Mikheil Saakashvili said that the Financial Times had referred to Georgia as the world’s number one corruption fighter.
We checked the FT’s online and print archives and could not find any reporting that would support the President’s reference. What the President probably referred to was a full-page ad in the FT – paid for by the Georgian government, aimed at attracting more foreign investors.
On January 28, 2011, the FT printed a full-page ad on page 7, stating: “Georgia – The World’s number 1 in fighting corruption”. The price for the ad, according to the FT’s price list: GPB 99,600, about GEL 282,000. The ad appeared in the FT’s Europe and United Kingdom editions, possibly also in the paper’s global edition, which would increase the price before discounts ("rate card price") to GPB 135,500/GEL 387,000.
The same Georgian government ad appeared also on page 7 of the Wall Street Journal (January 28, with a rate card price for a full-page ad in the global edition: USD 345,662/GEL 614,000) and in the Economist (week of January 29th,rate card price: at least GBP 90,900/GEL 260,000).
The ad refers to Georgia’s results in TI’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer. The Georgian government consulted with TI and TI Georgia on the text of the ad.
Spokesperson of the President of Georgia Manana Manjgaladze said the statement of the representative of the Transparency International Mathias Huter about the article of the Financial Times was absurd.
„As a rule, we do not comment on similar statements,” said Manana Manjgaladze at the traditional briefing yesterday.
Due to the scandalous situation about the letter, Manana Manjgaladze had to make a long comment on the issue. In her interview with the News Agency Pirveli she clarified that in his nation speech in the parliament of Georgia the President spoke about significant reduction of corruption in Georgia not according to the information of the Financial Times but according to various international organizations like Transparency International itself.
“During his speech in the parliament the president did not rely on any publications or ads published in the newspaper Financial Times; he spoke according to the information received from the surveys carried out by various international organizations among whom is the Transparency International too. We would like to remind everybody the results of the Global Barometer Survey 2010 which states that 78% of population thinks corruption has significantly or very significantly reduced in the country for the last three years. 77% of the population thinks that Georgian authority effectively fights against the corruption. In comparison to 86 states, where the survey was carried out, Georgia has the highest rating. The president relied on this information during his speech in the parliament,” said Manana Manjgaladze.
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