And again security officers
Transparency International Georgia continues to investigate appointment of security officers, so called ODRs (“ОДР” – офицер действующего резерва; lit. Active Reserve Officers) - in state institutions and other organizations by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
During the Soviet Union ODRs were appointed in different departments by the Ministry of Security. This practice was preserved throughout the presidential eras of Eduard Shevardnadze and Mikheil Saakashvili, and continues to exist under the current “Georgian Dream” Government, after the parliamentary elections in 2012.
In previous blog posts we wrote about the evidence of ODRs’ presence in the Georgian National Communications Commission and about the Security Officers working at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ State Security Agency. This time we present information we have obtained about three more Officers working in other public institutions.
According to the asset declaration submitted 2013 and 2014, Archil Bebiashvili (born on 16.06.1959) was employed as the Head of the Security Officer Unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ State Security Agency. At the same time Bebiashvili was working as an Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development from February 19 2013 to August 31 2014. According to the information from the year 2002, he was employed as a Deputy Chairman of the Accounting and Management Department of Georgia’s Ministry of State Property and Management, which was the predecessor of the Ministry of Economy.
Since August 25 this year, Archil Bebiashvili has been working as a short-term Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Administration in the Tbilisi Municipality.
Archil Bebiashvili’s name was also mentioned in the 2011 case filed by Giorgi Ratishvili, the Head of the Broadcasting Regulation Department of the National Communication Commission. The representatives of the Commission inspected Archil Bebiashvili and his wife’s apartment of how legally was LDD“Super TV” broadcasting the channels on the Georgian territory. The inspection determined that LDD“Super TV”was unlawfully transmitting across a range of channels. LDD“Super TV” received a warning for this. Besides, that former Head of the Broadcasting Regulation Department Giorgi Ratishvili (who made the finding against Bebiashvili and “Super TV”) released a compromising secret audio recording of former Chairman of the National Communications Commission Irakli Chikovani after the 2012 parliamentary elections.
Paata Jachvadze is the Head of the Counterintelligence Division of the Department of Security Officers of the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MOI), according to the asset declaration filed on September 26 2014, (born 03.01.1974) This is a position he has held at least since the September 24 2013 asset declaration was filled. Prior to holding this position, Jachvadze was the Head of MOIs Counterintelligence Department of the Eastern Regional Division and then he was employed as the Deputy Chairman of the counterintelligence department.
According to the information provided by the Government’s Administration, Paata Jachvadze is the Advisor to the Head of the Georgia’s Chancellor on security issues, and has been since September 16 2013.
According to the February 2014 asset declaration Giorgi Gamsakhurdia is the Deputy Chairman of Security Officer Unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ State Security Agency. Gamsakhurdia, the son of the Georgia’s first Post-Soviet President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was previously a Deputy Minister for Internally Displaced Persons, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.
According to media reports, Giorgi Gamsakhurdia has been working as an Advisor on security issues to the National Assessment and Examination Center for several months.
The legislative basis
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze approved statute about security officers in Georgian Ministry of State Security through the decree of April 22, 2002 (№187). This decree authorized the Ministry of Security to appoint Security officers in bodies and institutions particularly important to the state security, as well as in foreign Georgian representatives. The same decree allowed the President to appoint “ODRs” as well. While carrying out their functions in security issues, officers are subordinated to the Minister of National Security and corresponding department and must obey department regulations.
The legislative basis was changed and adapted under Mikheil Saakashvili’s decree №74 of March 1, 2004. This introduced new regulation for the Ministry of State Security. According to Constitutional Order №74 the Protection and Analysis Department was authorized to coordinate and control appointed security officers’ activities in bodies and institutions particularly important to the state security and to process the information provided by them.
In decree №72 of 5 March 2003 by President Eduard Shevardnadze, there is a list of 27 agencies and institutions where security officers might have been appointed: Ministries, Chamber of Control, the National Bank State Department "Sakstandarti", Tbilisi City Hall, Ministry of Railways, airports and other state institutions. The appointment of officers to the Chamber of Control, (which was succeeded by the State Audit Office) is a particularly clear example of the conflict of interest inherent in the process — the Chamber of Control, and now the State Audit Office makes determinations on the appropriateness of budget expenditure, including law enforcement agencies to which these officers belong.
This list is not exhaustive. The third article of Shevardnadze’s April 2002 decree №187 allowed for the appointment of security officers in other institutions and bodies, by instruction of the President or at the request of the head of the appropriate agency or institution.
There is an almost identical list in President Saakashvili’s decree №74 of March 1, 2004. Based on Saakashvili’s resolution №614 of December 27, 2004, the new regulation for Ministry of Internal Affairs was approved, according to which Minister of Internal Affairs appointed security officers within bodies and institutions particularly important to the state. Activities were coordinated by the intelligence department and the State Security Agency. This legal act no longer contains the open list of organizations, where the Minister appointed his representatives.
The newly minted Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili signed government resolution №337 of December 13, 2013, which validated the new regulation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The current regulation’s content is identical to the old decree №614. The Minister of Internal Affairs is authorized to appoint security officers in bodies and institutions particularly important to the state. The main objectives of the Counter Intelligence Department, and the State Security Agency is coordination and control activities of security officers assigned to state agencies and institutions, “to ensure the protection of state secrets”. In contrast to the above-mentioned presidential decrees on security officers and the Ministry of Security regulations, there is no open list of those bodies, to which the Minister of Internal Affairs is authorized to appoint security officers.
According to the information available to us, “ODRs” appointed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, work throughout the country in different public and private organizations. This information is not denied by government officials and MPs. Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee Irakli Sesiashvili said that security officers monitor and control security issues in organizations where they are placed.
Officials who are at the same time employed in other agencies, violate “the Law about Conflict of Interest and Corruption in the Public Service” Article 13, according to which: “a public official may not perform any other paid work except for scientific, pedagogical or creative activity, or to hold any position in any other public agency or public enterprise”.
"Transparency International - Georgia" calls the Georgian parliament to set up a special commission, with participation of relevant interested parties, to: investigate the legitimacy of the institute of security officers;, the legality of interference in other institutions competencies by employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; and if it is reasonable to maintain such an institution in a modern democratic society.
Transparency International Georgia will continue to research this topic and inform the public about the existence of representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affair, so called “ODRs” in various public institutions. If you have any information about this practice, please contact us with email or phone (firstname.lastname@example.org, +995 32 292 14 03).