Incomplete asset declarations of members of the GNCC
Most of the members of the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) have failed to provide a full list of companies owned by them and their family members in their asset declarations.
Kakha Bekauri was elected the Chairman of the GNCC in May 2017. TI Georgia also wrote about his undeclared assets last year, when he was a member of the GNCC, after which Mr. Bekauri corrected his declaration.
As for the declaration of 2017, Mr. Bekauri has failed to include a company owned by his stepson, Beka Jibladze, although he indicated Beka Jibladze as a family member. According to documents of the Public Registry, Mr. Jibladze has owned a 51% stake in Sante Medical Group LLC since 2012.
Kakha Bekauri is not the only member of the regulatory commission who has failed to completely declare his assets. One more member of the commission, Vakhtang Abashidze, failed to include the Chven da Shvilebi company, founded in 2014, in which he owns a 34% stake, in his declaration. He also failed to enter information about the entrepreneurial activity of his children. In particular, according to an extract from the Public Registry, Andria Abashidze owns:
- 33% stake in Adventus LLC;
- 100% stake in Ad Plus LLC;
- 33% stake in Universal Business Group LLC.
Vakhtang Abashidze has also failed to indicate a 33% stake of another of his son, Levan Abashidze, in Universal Business Group LLC.
- 100% stake in Kera Travel LLC;
- 22% stake in Kera Group;
- 50% stake in K&M.
The Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service obliges public officials to fill in asset declarations, which should also include information about their family members’ property and stakes in enterprises, even in cases when the enterprises are not currently in operation.
And according to Article 355 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, failure to submit an asset declaration or intentional entry of incomplete or incorrect information therein “shall be punished by a fine or corrective labor from one hundred and twenty to two hundred hours, with deprivation of the right to carry out a particular activity for up to three years.” However, law enforcement agencies do not respond to such cases.
From 2017, the Civil Service Bureau was tasked with monitoring asset declarations, although the agency will release the results at the end of the year. In addition, independent commission that will select and verify declarations that pose a high risk of corruption and are a subject of high public interest is yet to be set up. It is planned to set up this commission by 2018. Accordingly, it is still early to talk about the effectiveness of the monitoring of declarations.
TI Georgia calls upon public officials to exercise more responsibility when filling in asset declarations and urges the authorities to create an effective instrument for verifying declarations.