41 avowed millionaires in Georgia’s parliament
21 February, 2017
41 avowed millionaires in Georgia’s parliament
Monitoring of Georgian officials’ public assets declarations will begin shortly, the government’s resolution passed on February 14 reads. The aim of the monitoring is to check the completeness and accuracy of declared assets, as well as revealing and preventing conflict of interests and corruption offenses. In case of revealed infringements, the officials in question will be fined or punished by doing community services for 120 to 200 hours. Besides, the punishment may include banning the official from taking political positions for up to three years.

In spite of the fact that there have been numerous cases of journalistic investigation that revealed infringements, it is difficult to remember at least one fact when offenders were duly punished. That is why making the declarations has become a formality and many officials fill the questionnaire as they like.

So, if the government actually implements its responsibilities and the monitoring is effectively carried out, the officials will no longer have the possibility to use their ‘creative talents’.

If the inaccuracies revealed in any declaration are not caused by miscalculations or other spontaneous mistakes, the controlling body will be responsible to transfer the materials to the proper law enforcement authorities.

The declarations have to be made by more than 2 800 officials. Two months after appointment, any official is obliged to fill the questionnaire and present full information about his/her public assets. These declarations are made annually, exactly one year after presenting the previous one.

Those eligible to present the declarations are: The President, the MPs, the Ministers and their deputies, the President of the National Bank and members of the Council, the Head of Governmental Administration and his deputy, the chairman of the State Security Service and his deputy, Business Ombudsman and his deputy, the Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission and other officials. The Mediator monitoring center has examined the declarations made by the MPs from the ruling party and found out that out of 115 MPs from the parliamentary majority there are 37 people whose public assets amount to 1 million Georgian laris or more.

Sophie Muzashvili, the representative of Mediator monitoring center: Since December 2016 our organization, together with ‘Civil Platform with New Georgia’ has examined all the declarations made by Georgian Dream MPs. In the beginning, our task was to learn the public assets of parliamentary majority members and ministers.
As the study has shown, 35% of GD members of parliament are avowed millionaires.

Another interesting fact is that large part of the MPs own hundreds of thousands of square mile lands in the different parts of Georgia. Many of them are also involved in business activities directly or indirectly.

The list of millionaire MPs is topped by Shota Shalelashvili with GEL 34.907.760.
geotv.ge
He is followed by the MP from Gori municipality, Ioseb Makrakhidze, whose properties amount to GEL 13 million. It should be noted that after Georgian Dream came to power, Makrakhidze was only involved in business activities and he was charged with appropriating state funds. However, due to the Amnesty Law, he was acquitted in July 2016. The third spot belongs to the MP from Tbilisi’s Krtsanisi district Neka Odisharia, with GEL 12.414.270.

Much like Makrakhidze, he is also involved in entrepreneurial activities.

The former football player and now the Member of Parliament, Levan Kobiashvili comes fifth. His properties amount to GEL 10 million. The last in the Top 5 is the former (Shevardnadze-era) Interior Minister and now an MP from Kutaisi, Koba Narchemashvili, with GEL 7 672 000.

We have also studied the land plots the Members of Parliaments from GD own and learned that Ioseb Makrakhidze is leading here with 418 266 square meters. He is followed by Makhir Darziev with 306 575 square meters and Gela Samkharauli with 285 383 square meters. Then comes Revaz Arveladze with 169 272 square meters.

Levan Khabeishvili, the leader of ‘Civil Platform New Georgia’: We can safely say that the majority of MPs are mini-oligarchs who have nothing to do with politics and legislation. They are mainly involved in their business activities and they use their position to defend and protect their own enterprises. The research shows that the questions the public ask are absolutely logical and the answers are clear: the Parliament is absolutely dysfunctional and cannot meet the problems of the population.

Millionaires from the opposition

The research has also revealed that there are several millionaires among the opposition MPs. The richest person in the whole parliament is actually from the Patriots’ Alliance opposition party and her name is Nato Chkheidze. Her properties amount to more than 50 million GEL, which equals approximately 20 million US dollars.

Koba Nakopia from the United National Movement as well as Sergo Ratiani and Akaki Bobokhidze from European Georgia are also among those listed.

By Ema Tukhiashvili for Kviris Palitra

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