MP Akaki Bobokhidze: “Who Is John Bass to Worry about His Concern”
Rusudan Shelia, Newspaper “Versia”
Why does not the astonishment of the US ambassador about the activities of the Chamber of Control bother the USA? What do brothers Bobokhidzes reply to the accusations against them and will scandalous Levan Bobokhidze replace his brother MP Akaki Bobokhidze on the election list of the National Movement? Newspaper “Versia” asked these questions to the chair of the Parliamentary Committee of Environment and Natural Resources and a leader of the National Movement Akaki Bobokhidze.
-Lately, activities of your brother Levan Bobokhidze have become very scandalous. People say, your brother is eager to be on the election list of the National Movement and to somehow get rid of you. Is it true information?
-These rumors sound very nice. It is interesting how can my brother replace me? Certain people do their best to spread similar rumors about me. They fight against me and it is natural because of current competitiveness. There always will be a person, who will criticize me and my family members before the society. We have put up with this situation. By the way, part of rumors is close to truth because certain people do not consider both faces of the medal.
-Is it true that your brother receives 15-20% of salaries of those people, who work in budget funded agencies and then distributes the money among party activists?
-I want to answer this question for the last time. Yes, I confirm that I assisted our party members for a long time while the law allowed me. Maybe, somebody will think that my brother compels public officials to pay money but he cannot order me anything?! I have been MP since 1990s. I always thought that my social position was not only my achievement. Many people helped me so I always tried to share my salary and other income with those people too. If I had as much fortune as Bidzina Ivanishvili, I would have done more but unfortunately my possibilities are limited. I would like to repeat that including 2011, I was transferring money to my party-mates from my salary. I have never spoken about it because there was nothing to boast about; about 250 GEL was divided among several people.
-If your 250 GEL is aid, why do you claim that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s charity activities were bribery of voters?
-It is easy to understand. Charity should not turn into mechanism to buy votes. The people, who received my money, were besides me during victory and failure and not because they expected something from me, but they really had my sympathy. Their attitude towards me will continue in future too. As for Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team, I cannot see people unified around one idea there. People join him because he had paid money to them in the past or intends to pay money to him. The money pays the key role in his coalition that is now luckily prohibited by the law and government; so the Chamber of Control works in this direction actively.
-Do you justify the recent activities of the Chamber of Control which so much breached all legal norms that even US Ambassador protested it?
-Who is John Bass to worry about his concern? Why is US Ambassador more important figure in Georgia than let’s say Romanian Ambassador? Do you know what real problem is? People believe legends and fairy-tales. They believe that Saakashvili’s presidency was settled in America and the fate of the future government will also be settled in the White House. It is not nice that John Bass was concerned about anything, but it is not imperative problem. We cannot be focused on John Bass’s reaction.
-Since when the government of the National Movement does not pay attention to the remarks of the international organizations, or it is your personal opinion?
-When ruined building is renovated in one day without any legal documents, naturally we have questions how the money was spent and we request clarifications. We do our best for better development of the country. We will try to least irritate international organizations but if, for example, the ambassador gets concerned with my breakfast, I indeed cannot postpone my breakfast to sooth him. Generally, we act as if the US Ambassador is the second secretary of the Central Communist Committee in Georgia to control the government here. There is much difference between observation and curatorship; the latter is not correct. In 2003, during the transitional period of the Georgian government, US authority had good relation with Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze but Georgian population voted for Mikheil Saakashvili. So, in future too, America will have to put up with the result which will be acceptable for Georgian people. America requests only democratic elections from us and to assign the authority to a political power whom the population will elect. The National Movement will be the power which will win the parliamentary elections. Besides that, will not the opposition parties share the responsibilities with the government? Or the law restricts only the government? In general, our opposition makes scandal out of the least important detail; so, I have no desire to respond to rumors about me and fantasy of my enemies and rivals. It is less interesting for me but attitude of the society towards me is significant for me because it can impact my future political fate in the upcoming elections.
Full version of the interview in Georgian
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