Money Embezzlement or Georgian Hospitality?
25 April, 2013
Millions were embezzled from Georgian state budget to cover expenses of the family members and relatives of the President of Georgia, ex-government-and-majority members, also to pay off travel expenses of some guests, particularly females arriving in Georgia. Georgian President calls this a simple hospitality. New government plans to set up a special parliamentary commission to investigate the unreasonable state expenses.
The financial papers of State Security Special Service having been consecrated for eight years of the ex-power’s office term became
transparent after the Service been under the charge of Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia and actual leader of the ex-ruling National Movement, was handed into the competence of the new government in spite of tremendous resistance on National’s side. Prosecutors’ Office perused the document and found apt to lift the seal of secrecy that enabled Majority MPs to make the said papers public on April 17, 2013.The revelation staggered any sensible person in the country: millions spent on financing vacation and relaxation pleasure of His Excellency and his family, also members of ex-government, their families and activists of National Movement in luxurious resorts abroad. The state budget covered even education tuitions of Saakashvili’s children and the medicine-related expenses of his family.
“Why on earth is he [Saakashvili] taking his salary for if even chemistry costs are covered from the state budget?” Tina Khidasheli, a majority MP, wonders.
According to the said papers, Saakashvili spent over half million [in national currency] to keep on the state money for a year a Sapanish cook who fed up His Excellency and his chum Gigi Ugulava, Tbilisi Mayor, to such an extent that the state coffer found reasonable to allocate GEL 115 thousand on special procedures in luxurious Austrian resort to get these statesmen back in shape. GEL 240 was spent to finance the Dubai voyage of Saakashvili and ten other people including governors and MPs to celebrate the New 2013 Year. Goga Khachidze, one of the voyage participants and a minority MP, assures they just had a supper in Dubai before the flight on their way back from Afghanistan where Saakashvili met New Year actually with Georgian troops. However the financial paper includes hotel expenses for the entire party for January 1-2 of 2013 in Dubai. Over 12 thousand was spent totally to finance Saakashvili’s vacancy in Thai resort Phuket and short visit of Davit Bakradze, former Chairperson of Parliament, who apparently happened to pass by in Phuket that time and decided to call on the President. The female persons including Georgian and foreign ones such as National’s activists, singers or journalists charming Saakashvili were gorgeously pampered by golden jewelry, expensive cell phones, and paying their hotel-stays in Georgia on account of the consecrated budget.
To Ksenya Sokolova, a Russian journalist, for example who published an interview with Saakashvili in 2010, Georgian President gifted a GEL 3 thousand worth golden necklace and paid over GEL 9 thousand for her stay at Radisson Blue Iveria hotel. All this was done out of cordial Georgian hospitality to raise the image of the country and attract tourists, Saakashvili swears.
“I never stole or embezzled any money and lay my head that no one from my government stole. When a guest comes here, are not we supposed to accept him/her on the high level? I advise the majority to do this too, never sit in the cabinets but travel around, meet people, and invite them here. That’s how I increased the tourist inflow from 100 thousand to 5 million,” Saakashvili, flushed of emotions, commented to media. Whether or not this was money embezzlement or Georgian hospitality is up to Prosecutors’ Office to decide now.