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Statement of the Coalition for Freedom of Choice to Ms. Natia Mogeladze, head of Party Funding Monitoring Service at the Chamber of Control

03.05.2012

Ms. Natia Mogeladze, head of Party Funding Monitoring Service at the Chamber of Control

Dear Ms. Natia

On April 5, 2012 representatives of the United National Movement met about 400 teachers in the restaurant “Kosmosi”. Tbilisi City Mayor Gigi Ugulava, deputy education ministers Koka Seperteladze and Irine Kurdadze, head of the social and culture service at the Tbilisi City Hall Mamuka Katsarava, Gldani district independent MP in the Tbilisi City Council Niko Khachirishvili and other officials attended the meeting. The meeting finished with the so-called “ala-frushet”. According to the journalists’ information, the Tbilisi mayor and other governmental officials agitated in favor of the ruling party. Gigi Ugulava said it was conference of the political party which was funded by the National Movement. Mr. Khachirishvili said “if anybody is interested, everything is transparent; the National Movement acts in accordance to the law.” (see the enclosed video).

On April 20, the leaders of the National Movement – Davit Bakradze, the chair of the Parliament of Georgia, Gigi Ugulava, Tbilisi City Mayor, MP Giorgi Meladze and other officials, met teachers within the pre-election campaign in the restaurant Elita. The meeting was organized by the political party and had pre-election character.  MP Giorgi Meladze told Maestro’s journalist that the United National Movement had organized the meeting. The ruling party had hired a company which signed contracts with all organizations organizing the meetings. The video shows that teachers were delivered to the meeting by mini-buses for free; afterwards, the guests were served with ala-frushet again. The journalist also noted that according to the teachers’ information the transportation expenses were covered by the school budget that is direct violation of the law. Gigi Ugulava also confirmed the alleged information about political and pre-election purpose of the meeting in his interview with the TV-Company Maestro after the meeting. (see the video in the annex)

Teachers were transported for free to restaurant Kosmosi and Elita; both meetings finished with ala-frushet. So, it is clear that article 5 part I of the Organic Law of Georgia about Political Unions of Citizens was breached: “a political party shall not offer or provide goods or service for free via its candidate, representative or other persons directly or indirectly (except particular cases envisaged by this law).

On March 30, leaders of the National Movement – chairman of the parliamentary fraction Petre Tsiskarishvili, Tbilisi City Mayor Gigi Ugulava, deputy education minister Koka Seperteladze and Minister of Refugees and Accommodation Koba Subeliani met the party coordinators in the restaurant Senati. GNS studio’s TV-story for the TV-Company Maestro (TV-program Kviris Reprotaji) and journalist Salome Tsetskhladze from the magazine Liberali (she attended the meeting and video-recorded the meeting by cell-phone) reported that after speech Gigi Ugulava offered the audience to write their requests on the papers together with their phone-numbers to the lady. The journalists state those requests were mostly personal character.

If the abovementioned facts are confirmed, the City Mayor breached the Article 5 Part I of the Organic Law of Georgia about Political Unions of Citizens: “political party shall not directly or indirectly interest citizen of Georgia via the candidate, party representative or other person by offering or promising money, bonds, material or nonmaterial values and service (including labor or other relations).

Additionally, Article 164 of the Criminal Code of Georgia was also breached, which states that: “offering, promising and giving money, services or other benefit of any kind directly or indirectly “for political purposes” or making any sham deals “for the purpose of evading restrictions” set by the law shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment for up to three years.”

Ms. Natia,

We, the undersigned organizations, kindly request you to demand the United National MOVement to provide you with the information about financial expenditure on the organized events and to publish it within the framework of your authorities. We also request you to study and respond to violations observed during similar meetings organized by the National Movement.

Sincerely,
Coalition for Freedom of Choice

1. Irakli Melashvili, election expert
2. Zviad Koridze, media-expert
3. Kote Kandelaki - International Center of Civic Culture;
4.  Ucha Nanuashvili – Human Rights Center
5.  Ia Mamaladze – Georgia’s Media-Monitoring Center;
6.  Gogi Khutsishvili - International Center for Conflict and Negotiation;
7.  Davit Narmania - Caucasian Institute of Economy and Social Studies;
8. Magda Popiashvili – Georgian Media Club;
9. Davit Losaberidze - Center of National Democracy Network;
10. Murman Pataraia - Resource Center for Civic Education

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