Bezhashvili’s Transformation – From Burjanadze to Mogeladze
Tamar Lepsveridze, GuriaNews
“I decided to leave my comfortable and high position in Tbilisi and support Kakheti and the Kakheti people. I want to dedicate my future activities to the care of impoverished people. It was not an easy decision but today our people need particular attention and support, and it is a more important responsibility than any other high positions.”
Levan Bezhashvili made the decision just before the elections after four-years as chairman of the Chamber of Control. He remembered his native region of Kakheti and the Kakheti residents before elections.
However, long before the natural disaster, rumors spread that Levan Bezhashvili intended to be majoritarian candidate of the ruling party in Signagi district, Kakheti.
Former chairwoman of the Parliament of Georgia and current oppositionist, Nino Burjanadze, played a key role in Bezhashvili’s 16-year-long experience in governmental institutions.
In 1999-2003 he was the leading specialist of the legal department of the Parliament of Georgia; then he was head of the department, and finally he entered politics with Nino Burjanadze’s support.
Before Bezhuashvili resigned, Nino Burjanadze gave an interview to Guria News and she said: “I can definitely tell you that when I included Levan Bezhashvili in the list of MP candidates, he was and still is a qualified professional. By that time, he had perfect reputation and was an extremely honest person. Simultaneously he was doing his best to protect human rights. By the way, Levan Bezhashvili categorically opposed the time when the MIA started seizing allegedly stolen cars from owners. As a result, many honest people were victimized. Although his fight was not effective enough, he was sincerely fighting against this operation.
At least Bezhashvili was doing his best to protect human rights. I cannot say how he was transformed. I can say only one thing that I am carefully observing the transformation of the people who entered the government with my support and smile when they claim that I had done nothing to support them. As soon as they have they chance, they even deny our acquaintance. It is very painful but a real situation. I definitely know how people speak and behave when they chair parliament, act as president, or when they are in opposition and the government persecutes you. They sometimes cannot even greet me fearing the government might accuse them of cooperation with Nino Burjanadze.”
Levan Bezhashvili’s 16-year-long history as governmental official and his transformation as chair of Chamber of Control, stores many interesting details in his declaration starting with being an individual entrepreneur and ending with the land granted to him based on the President’s decree.
On February 15, Guria News received a copy of the President’s decree dated on August 10, 2011; according to this document a non-agricultural plot of 610 sq. meters was assigned to Levan Bezhashvili in Samgori.
The President’s decree reads:
1. In accordance to Article 191 Paragraph 12 of the Law of Georgia about the Property of Local Self-Government, a notification shall be released to the Tbilisi government to sign agreements with physical persons on the direct purchase of estates listed in the annex of this decree that is owned by the Tbilisi Self-Government.
2. The agreements envisaged by this decree shall go into force as soon as they are issued.
Guria News sent a second letter to the President’s administration and requested the copy of the annex document but they refused to send the copy claiming it contained personal data.
So, the President’s administration granted top secret status to the list of physical persons whom Mikheil Saakashvili assigned plots for free.
According to our source of information, the president’s family members and other officials of the ruling party are on the list as well.
Second interesting detail with regard to this decree is that initially the purchase agreement was signed on the estate owned by the Tbilisi Self-government and a month later the president issued a decree, though the latter should have been a basis for the purchase agreement and not vice versa.
By the way, several days before, on June 21, 2011, before Levan Bezhashvili signed agreement with the City Hall for the plot allocated by the President’s decree, he applied to the Civil Registration Agency to annul his registration as individual entrepreneur.
In parallel to occupying the position of the chairman of the Chamber of Control, Bezhashvili was an ordinary entrepreneur.
Apparently, when he was waiting for the president’s gift and collecting relevant documents, his past entrepreneurship emerged as not relevant and legal occupation for high-ranking official.
Lawyers clarify that a high-ranking official unilaterally breaches the law when she/he is an entrepreneur in parallel to it. The level of liability is estimated according to bank operations and whether she/he misuses his/her position in the business and whether his entrepreneurship was somehow connected with Chamber of Control in Bezhashvili’s case.
Information about bank operations is really interesting but not available. On the one hand, bank operations of an individual entrepreneur is information containing tax secrets and moreover, it is connected with Levan Bezhashvili…
We did not use the easiest way to get information – we did not ask Bezhashvili himself to get information for a very simple reason – in this particular case it is useless to ask him because the Chamber of Control replied to only one of our 12 letters sent to the state audit agency and the fate of the others is still unknown. Nobody replies to phone calls at the chancellery; the legal department is keeping silent and all this happened when Bezhashvili was chairman of the Chamber of Control.
We did not receive answers to any of the letters sent personally to Levan Bezhashvili; one of them was about an administrative case where we requested to make public the list of Natia Mogeladze’s personnel and their salaries [financial monitoring service of political parties within the State Audit Office].
We do not know the fate of our second complaint and the audio-recording which demonstrated how the head of security service of the Chamber of Control, Jimsher Doborjginidze, was trying to seize dictophone from Guria News’ journalist.
Levan Bezhashvili, who allegedly does not care about having a comfortable position, never became interested in the abovementioned facts and the violations of rights of media representatives.
Bezhashvili never became interested in the fates of hundreds of people who were terrorized by Natia Mogeladze’s office and now he has appeared to be an attentive guardian of Kakhetian farmers.
Before the pre-election campaign is launched, the former chair of the Chamber of Control [currently State Audit Office] will either go to Vejini village in Mtskheta or to Bakhmaro in Chokhatauri district to have a holiday.
Besides the abovementioned plot Levan Bezhashvili, whose annual salary was 71,140 lari, owns an estate of 600 sq. meters in Vejini village, Mtskheta district, and an estate of 132 sq. meters in Bakhmaro.