05.May .2022 16:00

Business Interests of Tbilisi City Assembly Members and Violations in Asset Declarations - TI Georgia

Business Interests of Tbilisi City Assembly Members and Violations in Asset Declarations - TI Georgia
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Non-governmental organization Transparency International Georgia published a report. According to the document, a number of restrictions are applied to public officials in Georgia regarding their business activities to avoid giving priority to their personal interests above the interests of the state and citizens.

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) analyzed business interests and activities, and political donations of all 50 members, including 29 public officials, of the Tbilisi City Assembly of the 7th convocation and revealed several violations:

* 8 public officials have incompletely declared their own or family members’ business activities: Zurab Abashidze, Shalva Ogbaidze, Irakli Kheladze, Levan Abashidze, Tornike Bikashvili, Otar Grigolia, Givi Chkhartishvili, and Giorgi Sharashidze.

* 8 public officials have not delegated the right to manage shares in the private companies to other person: Konstantine Zarnadze, Levan Japaridze, Shalva Ogbaidze, Irakli Kheladze, Tornike Bikashvili, Sopio Japaridze, Giorgi Oniani, and Giorgi Sharashidze.

* 5 public officials still hold a managerial position in a private company, thus are incompatible with their official position: Konstantine Zarnadze, Shalva Ogbaidze, Tornike Bikashvili, Giorgi Oniani, and Giorgi Sharashidze.

* 4 public officials indicated O GEL income received from their or family members’ economically active companies in the assets declaration, which could imply an incomplete statement of the income. These officials are Giorgi Akhvlediani, Tinatin Nibloshvili, Levan Arveladze, and Giorgi Sharashidze.

* The study has revealed the case of alleged political corruption, in particular:

16 out of 29 members of the Tbilisi City Assembly from the ruling Georgian Dream party donated suspiciously identical amounts (GEL 5 or 10 thousand) to “Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia” on the same day, 12 October 2021 (following the first round of the local self-government elections) – in a total of GEL 115,000.

In the period between October 13 and October 21, five more members of the Tbilisi City Assembly – Avtandil Tsintsadze, Alexander Khujadze, Akaki Aladashvili, Irakli Kheladze, and Konstantine Zarnadze – transferred a total of GEL 65,000 to Georgian Dream’s account.

On April 13, 2022, Transparency International Georgia urged the State Audit Office (SAO) to investigate alleged political corruption with regard to political party financing. On May 2, 2022, SAO replied that "the State Audit Office inspected the finances of individuals financing political union of citizens “Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia” in 2021, and did not find any violation."

TI Georgia urges the Civil Service Bureau to review the violations found in the asset declarations of public officials below and respond in accordance with the law.

The business activities of the Tbilisi City Assembly members and their families look as follows:

* 23 out of 50 members of the Tbilisi City Assembly have links with business activities, and 12 of them are public officials. 3 of these 12 members had active companies in 2021 (Levan Arveladze – Georgian Dream, Giorgi Sharashidze – For Georgia).

* 11 ordinary members (non-public officials) have business activities, and 5 of them had economically active companies over the past year.

35 out of 50 members of the Tbilisi City Assembly donated money to their political parties at different times. 8 members donated GEL 323,286 to the United National Movement; 23 members – GEL 237,242 to Georgian Dream; 2 members – GEL 65,000 to Lelo for Georgia; 1 member – GEL 12,085 to For Georgia; 1 member – GEL 8,100 to For People.

* The companies affiliated with 6 members of the Tbilisi City Assembly have participated in public procurement. Only one of them is a public official (Giorgi Sharashidze). At different times, most contracts were awarded to companies linked to the following councilors:

- In 2016-2021, the company Transporter LLC affiliated with Georgian Dream councilor, Akaki Aladashvili received GEL 4,141,182 through public procurement – GEL 2,832,990 through 62 tenders and GEL 1,308,192 through simplified procurement.

- In 2011-2022, 96 simplified procurement contracts (GEL 522,060 in total) were concluded with 8 companies directly or indirectly linked with Giorgi Sharashidze, deputy chairman of the “Tbilisi for Georgia” faction. The same companies also won 39 tenders (GEL 946,221 in total).