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Who Wants Irakli Okruashvili’s Holiday House?

16.01.2008
“Tseroskhevi” Was Seized from “Hawk”

The Georgian Ministry of Economics and the local government of Shida Kartli cannot share former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili’s home, located in “Tseroskhevi” in the village of Ateni and named “Hunter’s House”. The local government opposes the Ministry of Economics because of their actions regarding the property. The Gori Municipality Board has requested Tseroskhevi Ltd be assigned while the Ministry is demanding that the estate be left alone as they intend to sell it.

Since the local government in Shida Kartli was changed on September 12th, 2007, newly elected officials are checking the property owned by their predecessors in the region and initiated seizure processes on many, including Okruashvili’s “Hunter’s House.”

On November 27th, 2007, the Gori Municipality Board sent petition # 401 to the Georgian Ministry of Economics, requesting Tseroskhevi Ltd be assigned to the local government based on the Georgian law on Local Authority and Government.

A month later on December 27th, 2007, the Deputy Minister of Economics, Vakhtang Lezhava, sent two letters to the head of the Shida Kartli Regional Department, Nukri Abalaki. One copy of the letter was sent to the Gori Municipality Board. Lezhava’s letter states that the Ministry of Economics refused to assign the Ltd to the Gori Municipality. The letter reads as follows:

“We kindly inform you that the Georgian Ministry of Economics has received the letter from the Gori Municipality Board requesting the assignment of Tseroskhevi Ltd to them. We kindly ask that you provide all necessary documents on the Ltd in order to start privatization of the property.”

Nukri Abalaki stated in his conversation with the Human Rights Center that they have already prepared the documents in question and would soon send them to the Ministry.

“In the past, some activity of the Hunters’ Union was in the area where the house is located. Today, we will privatize it,” Abalaki said.

The estimated price of Tseroskhevi Ltd is 350,000 lari. It is unclear how much money Okruashvili spent on repairing and renovating the estate. He recently arranged meetings with opposition parties and supporters in the house, which was often referred to as “Hawk’s Nestle.” In 2004, MP Ivvliane Khaidrava called Okruashvili and his supporters the “Hawk’s or War Party,” while Former state Minister, Goga Khaidrava was a member of the so-called “Peace Party”. The meetings of these two groups were arranged in Tseroskhevi in the Ateni Gorge.

The Human Rights Center also discovered that the local Gori government had made inquiries into how much the “legendary property” was worth before they requested the Ministry of Economics assign them the property. The Center has obtained an audit report drawn up on October 22nd, 2007, a month before the Ministry of Economics received the local government’s petition.

The audit report states that on October 19th, 2007, the State Property and Privatization Department applied to the Independent Auditor Giorgi group, under the supervision of the Audit Council of the Georgian Parliament, to observe and estimate market price of the “Hunter’s House” in the Gori district. Based on a visual observation of the estate, the auditor assessed the property to be a two-story, four-bedroom (Two doubled-beds and two single beds) home built in Tseroskhevi (total area 5 000 sq. meters), with a total space of 300 sq. meters. The building is made of rock stone and has both electricity and water. There is a large hall inside and the floor is also made of rock stone. There is a mantelpiece in the hall and the kitchen is decorated with tiles and flooring tiles. There is wooden furniture with a bar in the kitchen, as well as a sauna and a shower toilet in it. There is a marani (location for storing wine) with two pitchers in the house as well. Outside, there is a lake for fishing and two wicker houses on the left bank of the River Tana and one wicker house on the right bank, all of which is considered to be part of the property. The price of the whole estate is 350 000 lari.

The source of Okruashvili’s funding for repairs on such an expansive estate remains a mystery. The Ministry of Economics and local government have decided, however, that they cannot share the property, so a resolution to the situation also remains unclear.

Saba Tsitsikashvili,Gori 

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