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Kareli Journalists Left Out in the Street by Local Governor

July 25, 2006

 Kareli Journalists Left Out in the Street by Local Governor


Journalists of the Kareli regional independent newspaper “Kartlis Kronikebi” (Chronicles of the Kartli Region) were left out in the street. A week ago, the Kareli local council sold the building where the editorial office and print-works of the newspaper were located, without any competition or tender. The building’s new owner suddenly declared to newspaper staff that the two-storey building was already his property and categorically demanded that they leave the building.

Lia Jakhveladze, the editor of the Kareli based regional newspaper “Kartlis Kronikebi” declares that the Kareli local council and former MP Badri Nanetashvili have retaliated against her, for having actively highlighted illicit agreements between MP Badri Nanetashvili and the local authority, made long before he was stripped of his duties. On the 21st of June, based on the findings of the Public Defender, MP Badri Nanetashvili was sacked from Parliament. The reason for his dismissal was the incompatibility between his business ventures and his powers.

Lia Jakhveladze states: “Gia Zanardia, a local councilor, and former MP Badri Nanetashvili, seek revenge against me for my having opposed them and having exposed number of their illicit activities. Our newspaper was the first one that raised its voice against the peculiarities in the local budget. The present councilor, Zanardia, was appointed to his position according to the recommendations of MP Badri Nanetashvili. The aim was to transfer quite substantial sums to MP Badri Nanetashvili's TV Company’s account from the local budget, and they succeeded. Several thousand GEL a month was transferred to Nanetashvili’s TV Company - “Trialeti”. Our local budget is quite a limited one. Income is generally received from a transfer. We and our local population cannot accommodate MP’s who abuse their power”.

Newspaper journalists recall, that since Badri Nanetashvili was sacked from the Parliament, they have had serious problems. Gia Zanardia, the local governor also orally assaulted the newspaper editor. According to Lia Jakhveladze, the quarrel in the local council building was witnessed by many people. Though, she preferred to keep silent about it at the time. "I felt they were planning something against me and they did it," says Lia Jakhveladze.

The newspaper staff are about to meet the Public Defender in the coming days.

We have got in touch with Gia Zanardia, the Kareli Local Governor. According to him, an advertisement about selling the building and the competition was published in the "Mesakutre" newspaper.

Gia Zanardia (the Local Governor) states: "The building was in the poorest condition, despite that, both the local council and privatization department considered it reasonable to be sold. You are aware that our budget is in poor condition and each tetri is precious to us. Absolutely the whole staff was informed about it. I have no personal concerns against anybody. We sold it to those who paid money for it."

Saba Tsitsikashvili, Gori