Authorities late to Restore Proprietors’ Rights
03 October, 2013
Authorities late to Restore Proprietors’ Rights
Proprietors, who handed their property to the state under the pressure of the ex-power, worry that the new administration shies to prompt the process of returning the confiscated assets to legal owners, and press the government to get more effective. The Authorities argue that the state budget won’t survive if it immediately pays off the compensations averaging GEL 6-7 billion in seized assets. Some sector pundits believe the lack of political will is the reason that makes the justice restitution
tardy.
A year has passed since the new authorities came into office and pledged to restore infringed property rights as soon as possible but the process cannot move from the dead point in fact. Except few cases including restored rights of the Cartu Group affiliated with the Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili and family businesses of Badri Patarkatsishvili, a late tycoon and imputed buddy of PM, the much trumpeted property violation cases still are pending for fair decision. During his meeting with economic and political analysts past week Ivanishvili confessed that the state stumbles to find effective mechanism to solve the piling property violation cases at Prosecutors’ Office. Overall approximately GEL 6-7 billion worth assets were seized during the ex-power through crack-down on proprietors and who ultimately either gave the required assets away as “gifts” to the state or handed them through different intricate financial and legal mechanisms to the state or top officials’ families and friends. Around 9700 of alleged “gifted” assets are registered and thousands of others were taken through the plea bargaining largely practiced by ex-power reigned Prosecutors’ Office. And 90% of this disputed property belongs to the state or was seized through the state. Ivanishvili fears that if now the state assumes responsibilities to pay the seized property back to legal owners it will deliver an irreversible impact on the state budget and development prospects of the society.
According to him, the problem was aggravated by unreasonable investment policy of the seized assets that practically were squandered on ineffective projects creating no value in the economy. And now the new authority faces a dilemma as to how to compensate losses to victim proprietors without violating rights of the remaining part of the society.
“It is certainly true that the state must restore the justice but the state belongs to the entire society not just victims [of the regime] alone. So, we may deprive the society of its development prospect if the state assumes these arrears through any possible form,” Ivanishvili said adding that thousands of versions of the problem solution have been discussed but no actual way-out is found so far. The afflicted entrepreneurs meantime accuse authority in making tardy decisions and nepotism for the few cases settled so far are related with Ivanishvili himself or his encircle.
Ditrikh Muller, a co-founder of Georgian Investment Group +, believes the problem is the lack of political will not the state budget.
“If there were a political will around 70% of the disputed cases might have been solved long before. The state budget bears no responsibility toward the victims of the ex-regime. Their property was seized by criminal activity of the state officials, prosecutors, etc. Those perpetrators not the state enjoyed the profits of the seized assets and they ought to bear responsibility and clear the compensations to victims. Let the Prosecutors’ Office prompt investigations properly and then put criminal functionaries responsible for their crimes. No other mechanism than that can be adopted,” Muller said to Georgian Journal.

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