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Kakheti Awaits Boisterous Detention Series

25.06.2007
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Investigative Department of Revenues within the Georgian Ministry of Finances raids the district Administrative Boards in Kakheti region. According to the Kakheti Office of the Investigative Department, they are carrying out preliminary investigation on criminal case on appropriating the state budget. High ranking officials of the Gurjaani District Municipality and Administration are suspected for the crime. The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the prevarications.

According to the information, several high ranking officials will be detained in the region.  MP Nugzar Abulashvili, who is also a chairman of the Signagi District Organization of the National Movement, might be among detainees.

Nobody gets surprised at unreasonable expenditures of the state funds at the local authority. However, people get surprised at methods officials use when stealing money. Little time ago, Human Rights Center got interested into one of these methods. Former and current officials of the Gurjaani District Administrative Board appropriated the state funds on the ground of serving foreign guests. Our journalistic investigation showed that representatives of the Administrative Board were collecting information about Georgian and foreign guests who had visited local hotels. After that, the District governor signed resolutions on apportioning certain funds from the local budget on serving guests. The hotel administration confirmed money transfer; however, the money went into the pockets of the Governor and his co-thinkers. Sometimes the apportioned money was spent on their parties in restaurants.

Regarding the situation, Kakheti office of the Investigative Department of the Revenues (former Financial Police) within the Ministry of Finances launched preliminary investigation on criminal case. The crime is envisaged under the Georgian Criminal Code Article 182, Section I. Representatives of the Investigative Department said that they are investigating the reality of facts introduced in the article “Parties and anniversaries at the expense of the budget” published in newspaper “Imedi” as well as some other suspicious circumstances.

“In order to estimate the reality, we are raiding the administrative boards and investigations will start on the basis of raid results and corresponding legal decisions will be taken. The investigation is monitored,” said Giorgi Kodoshvili, the head of the Kakheti Office of the Investigative Department of Revenues.

Gurjaani District Prosecutor’s Office got interested into the financial faults in the Gurjaani Municipality. The point is that the female employees of the Gurjaani Municipality have been given presents regarding the Women’s Day for the last several years. Last years presents cost 20, 30 or 50 lari. This year the women were presented according to their salaries. Employees received only half of their salaries though the head of the Financial-Economical Service Department demanded them to return twenty lari back. One of the employees explained the situation in his conversation with us that the collected money was spent on expensive presents for the wives of the Governor and deputy governors.

“We received bonuses on March 7; however the head of the Department categorically demanded us to return 20 lari. Tsitsishvili, an employee from the department, was following us with a bag and was collecting money. As far as I know they collected money not only in our department but in other ones too. They said they were going to buy presents for the wives of the governor and deputy governors. Unless we paid money, we would have problems. They threatened to fire us,” said employees from the Financial-Economical Department.

Although the wives of the governor and deputy governors returned the presents after the situation became public, prosecutor’s office got interested into the prevarication.

According to the official information, criminal case was launched under the Georgian Criminal Code Article 332, Section I, which envisages the punishment for abusing the power and is charged under the three-year-imprisonment.

“Preliminary investigation was launched on the basis of the article in the newspaper. We will interrogate witnesses and according to their testimonies we will plan our future activities,” said officials from the Gurjaani District Prosecutor’s Office.

Witnesses are ready to make testimonies to the investigation. “I did not receive bonus at all. They enjoyed my money without letting me know. Later on I was declared they needed the money and spent it,” said Tinatin Zardiashvili, former employee of the Culture Department at the Administrative Board.

Officials of the Investigative Department of the Revenues explore the financial situation in the Dedeoflistskaro and Lagodekhi District Administrative Boards. They do not state officially, though mention in several occasions that the reason for launching investigation were violations discovered during the scheduled raid carried out by the Chamber of Control.
However, representatives of the Dedoflistskaro and Lagodekhi District Administrative Boards categorically deny the situation. Financial police does not exclude the possibility of detaining some high ranking officials in Kakheti.  It must be pointed out that several days ago, Davit Maisuradze, an official from the Privatization Regional Service Department, was arrested.

Kakheti Regional Prosecutor’s Office got interested into the activities of the MP Nugzar Abulashvili. The newspaper Imedi was defined at the Prosecutor’s Office that there are some concrete facts and accusations against Nugzar Abulashvili. Those facts are being investigated but they cannot make comment on them out of the interest of investigation. Reliable news sources state that the MP will soon be arrested. Besides abusing the power, he might be accused for having dispersed journalists going to record the protest demonstration in the village of Anaga in the Signagi District on June 15 2006. 

We would like to remind the readers that law enforcers broke equipment of the representatives of the media and assaulted them. The victims blamed Abulashvili for the accident; however nobody has got interested into the situation yet. The police detained the attackers –three members of the National Movement. Later on, those people were released under the bail. Victim journalists have been demanding the discussion of the criminal case and punishment of the criminals in vain. Khvicha Kikilashvili, judge of the Signagi District Court threatens the journalist with detention.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

 

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