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Memorandum on Enguri Hydro Electro Station Is Still Secret

Eka Kevanishvili

On November 9, 2009 Tbilisi City Court did not satisfy the request from Georgian Young Lawyers Association, newspaper “Resonance” and Conservative Party. They petitioned to lift the Griffith Secret from the Memorandum on the management of EngurHess between Government of Georgia and Inter-Rao Ues. The decision reinforced the doubt of suitors that there are some unacceptable conditions for Georgia in this memorandum. After the suitors appeal all courts in Georgia, the case will be sent to European Court.

The memorandum on the management of EngurHess and Ministry of Energy of Georgia still remains Griffith Secret. The court did not satisfy the request of three suitors-Young Lawyers, newspaper” Resonance” and Conservative Party.

“They did not remove the Griffith Secret, Today only this Resolution Part was announced, though the statements why the request was rejected have not been advertised yet. Why should this memorandum be secret and not accessible for the public?” Natia Korkotadze, the lawyer of Conservative Party asks. This memorandum was adopted on December 30, 2008. Soon after, the newspaper “Resonance” wished to look through the document, then-Young Lawyers, later Conservative Party did similar request, but in vain. The memorandum became secret the day after information was requested on it. The motivation is secret commercial information on Inter-Rao Ues in the memorandum. Deputy Minister of Energy Nino Enukidze clarified:

“Rao Ues considered that their commercial secret was at stake and requested us to put Griffith on the document. In accordance to the Administrative Code of Georgia, we were entitled to discuss this issue. We discussed it and the minister decided to make it secret.”

Before the administrative court, Resonance and Conservative Party initially filled requests to the Ministry of Energy, however their plights were not satisfied. Consequently, suitors appealed to the court. November 9 decision of the court grounded the doubt of the member of the Conservative Party Bidzina Gujabidze; he doubts there are some conditions in the memorandum that can be harmful for the country. “We have grounded doubt that it is a corruptive and harmful agreement for the state.”

Gujabidze thinks the publicity of the memorandum could expose details which the government does not want to unleash. “We will learn that the government has assigned EngurHess to the Russian company for 50 years, which is not a lawful decision for a strategic entity. We will also learn that Russian will get hold of all advantages in the Hydro Electro Station and the Rao Ues will be able to cut electricity supply for Georgia whenever it decides.”

Lawyer for the Young Lawyers Association Tamar Kordzaia clarified that in accordance to the law Inter-Rao Ues had right to make its commercial activities secret. But it does not mean that the public agency, the Ministry of Energy in this particular case, was to satisfy the request of the company.

Kordzaia reported that the suitors claimed at the trial that legitimate public interest was higher than commercial secrecy because “EngurHess is very important entity for Georgia. Society has the right to get information about this company because it relates with environment. Besides that, the EngurHess is located in the conflict zone of Abkhazia and incorrect management can cause huge damage for Georgia. Thus, public interest is higher than commercial interest of Rao Ues.”

Nino Enukidze excludes all threat and said the memorandum is only a preliminary decision and further activities of Inter-Rao cannot be defined by this document.

Despite all that, the suitors still doubt. Next time they will appeal to the Appeal Court and then to the Supreme Court. Having appealed to every court in Georgia they will appeal to the European Court.

Source: Radio “Liberty

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