Property Seizure by Officials: The Case of Anaklia
According to information obtained by Transparency International Georgia, government representatives pressured land owners in Anaklia into giving up their lands during the period 2009-2010. While this information was previously known to the public, now for the first time the victims have been openly discussing the alleged cases. A video shows the testimonies of the victims on how government officials were threatening landowners with arrest or the dismissal of family members from their work if they failed to relinquish their property.
We are posting footage of a victim describing how Zaza Gorozia promised to pay him compensation, or give him alternative land in the area in which the Anaklia Hotel was constructed, in exchange for the land already taken from him by the state. We are also posting the story of Tamaz Shonia, who had to abandon his land as a result of intimidation by the Zugdidi prosecutor’s office.
In addition, we are publishing a statement made by Shota Bigvava, the former Deputy Chief of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Public Registry Zugdidi office, who describes how the Governor Zaza Gorozia forced him to destroy (by burning) archive documents confirming the rights of landowners.
Lawyers at Transparency International Georgia, as well as the staff from its regional offices, are actively involved in identifying and examining similar cases. Last week, we met a number of victims in several regions of western Georgia. Our organization is going to publish additional information and interviews in relation to this in the coming days. Furthermore, as soon as a final summary of the evidence collected is made, Transparency International Georgia will immediately appeal to the Prosecutor General's Office.
Due to the abundance of similar cases, we urge the Georgian authorities to set up a special commission in the near future to investigate abuses of ownership and property rights that have been taking place in recent years. Our organization possesses relevant documents and evidence, and we are ready to hand over these materials to the interested bodies.