Former Official from Kaspi Faces Possible Detention Again
Kaspi District Court has filed charges against Luiza Titirashvili, the former head of the Kaspi District State Property Management Division. The Shida Kartli Regional Prosecutor’s Office has finally finished its investigation of the purchase of the Metekhi Petroleum Storage Depot for scrap iron. The depot is located in the village of Metekhi in the Kaspi District. The charge against Ms. Titirashvili is that she wasted the Metekhi Petroleum Storage Depot and lied [to authorities].
In August 2004 Ms. Titirashvili was detained indefinitely as the investigation continued. After already spending eight months in jail, Ms. Titirashvili was released after the Supreme Court ruled that her detention was not necessary [for the investigation]. The Prosecutor’s Office finished its investigation in August 2006, two years after it initially began investigating Ms. Titirashvili. The Kaspi District Court will soon hand down a judgment in the case of Ms. Titirashvili...
Ms. Titirashvili has asked the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center for help. She says the investigation was prolonged indefinitely to hide mistakes [in the investigation] since 2004…
Ms. Titirashvili said, “The fact that I have not taken part in the purchase, dismantling, and cutting up of the Metekhi Petroleum Storage Depot should be obvious from the evidence in this case. The property did not belong to the [Kaspi District] State Property Management Division, which I directed. It was under the authority of the [Georgian] Ministry of State Property Management. Thus, I did not order the sale [of the Metekhi Depot], but rather Giorgi Meladze, the Chairman of the Joint Stock Company’s Supervision Board, did. I did not assess [the Metekhi Depot], but rather Jemal Merebashvili, the Court Executor, did. The independent auditor, Niko Berianidze, assessed it and not me. The Executor of the Executive Bureau, Mr. Giorgi Butkhuzi, carried out the sale, as opposed to me. I did not allow Mr. Merebashvili to continue with the dismantling of the property after it was seized by the District Court because I simply could not allow it… The only thing I could do because of my position [as head of the Kaspi District State Property Management Division] and as a private shareholder of the Joint Stock Company was to inform the District Governor, District Prosecutor and the Ministry of State Property Management [of the dismantling of the Metekhi Depot]. Consequently, this is what I did. However, the investigation was not interested with why others had not taken the necessary measures to prevent [the dismantling of the Metekhi Depot].”
Shida Kartli Prosecutor Davit Tsituri stated in an interview that the [Kaspi District] State Property Management Department and its head, Ms. Titirashvili, acted dishonest by not submitting any letters to the respective authorities to inform them of the dismantling of the Metekhi Depot. Mr. Tsituri insisted that the letter which Ms. Titirashvili has is a copy and that the original never arrived to the [Georgian] Ministry of State Property Management. “[The Kaspi District State Property Management Division] had such a practice there. They used to draft copies of letters and pretend the originals had already been sent somewhere. Nobody ever informed [the Georgian Ministry of State Property Management].”
Ms. Titirashvili stated the following regarding her case. “I informed the [Georgian] Ministry of State Property Management [about the dismantling of the Metekhi Depot] with letter #121, dated July 18, 2002, with letter #151, dated August 20, 2002, and with letter # 20, dated January 29, 2003. In letter # 120, dated Jul 18, 2002, and in letter #190, dated September 8, 2002, I asked the Gori Executive Bureau to send the documents about the purchase of the [Metekhi Depot] to the Georgian Ministry, though I, myself, never received them. These documents were demanded and received by the District Court in November 2002 as a result of a suit brought by the private shareholders [of the Metetkhi Depot]. The [Georgian] Ministry of State Property Management was involved in the case as a third-party and not the [Kaspi District State Property Management Division]. The confirmation receipt of these letters… and information about the Joint Stock Company belonging to the Georgian Ministry was included in the fourth volumes, pages 51 to 55, of the case. The investigation was not interested in why the head of the Supervision Board, Mr. Meladze, had not informed anyone [about the dismantling of the Metekhi Depot]. If he was to comply with the Georgian Law on Enterprises and the Regulations of Joint Stock Companies, he should have informed the Georgian Ministry and the private shareholders immediately. Therefore, why is [Mr. Meladze] not culpable in this matter?”
Mr. Meladze, the head of the Kaspi District Court said that the court hearing concerning Ms. Titirashvili’s charges will soon begin. If Ms. Titirashvili is found not guilty, those individuals who ordered her preliminary detention will be charged. However, if she is found guilty, the judge must decide what her punishment will be. That said, the evidence in the case clearly proves that Ms. Titirashvili is not guilty. Thus, the Prosecutor who initially detained Ms. Titirashvili should be charged under Georgia’s criminal codes.
Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori
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