Questions concerning authenticity of Tadumadze’s diploma must be answered
Transparency International Georgia studied the documents which confirm inconsistencies with regard to the diploma of incumbent General Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze. Specifically, according to the diploma, Shalva Tadumadze enrolled in the institute in 1993 while the institute itself was established in 1994. There are inconsistencies in terms of the graduation date too: the diploma indicated 1998, while, according to Shalva Tadumadze’s resumé, it is 1999. We should also note the suspicious unanimity with which the administrative agencies refused for many months to provide us with a copy of Tadumadze’s diploma under various pretexts.
Based on these findings, proper authorities must study the diploma of the general prosecutor and present substantiated explanations concerning the existing discrepancies. Otherwise, the authenticity of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma will remain questionable.
Who is Shalva Tadumadze and where did he work?
Shalva Tadumadze is the incumbent general prosecutor of Georgia. In 2011-2012, he was Bidzina Ivanishvili’s lawyer and, after the Georgian Dream had come to power, he became the government’s parliamentary secretary and then the head of the Administration of the Government. In July 2018, Tbilisi State University nominated Shalva Tadumadze for the general prosecutor’s post. Parliament upheld his candidacy with 101 votes. Currently, Tadumadze has been nominated to Parliament for a lifetime judicial appointment to the Supreme Court. He openly says that, if elected, he would like to become the Chief of Justice.
A diploma concealed from the public
Questions about Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma were raised when he was nominated for the post of the general prosecutor. According to Tadumadze, he studied in the higher education institution which operated lawfully and, with the education received at this university, he had served the families of “two billionaires” (Badri Patarkatsishvili and Bidzina Ivanishvili (former prime minister) living in Georgia.
Given strong public interest, Transparency International Georgia requested a copy of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma from several administrative institutions. Unfortunately, neither the Administration of the Government, nor the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, nor the Ministry of Justice has provided us with the requested information. The latter did not respond at all, which is why we have been trying to obtain a copy of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma through court action for a year now. Neither was Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma submitted to Parliament of Georgia when the legislative body considered approving him on the post of the chief prosecutor. It is noteworthy that a copy of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma is no longer kept in the Georgian Bar Association either as, according to its explanation, old documents are being destroyed on a regular basis.
Eventually, we managed to obtain a copy of Tadumadze’s diploma based on the documents submitted to the High Council of Justice.
Where did Shalva Tadumadze study?
According to the information published on the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia, Shalva Tadumadze studied at Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute, graduating in 1999 with the qualification of a lawyer. Later on, he graduated from the Faculty of Mining and Geology at the Technical University with a master’s degree in technical sciences.
The resumé submitted to the High Council of Justice indicates in greater detail that Tadumadze graduated from Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute and that the period of study is 1994-1998. During his speech in Parliament, Tadumadze also confirmed that he began his studies in 1994.
What was the reason for the suspicions regarding the authenticity of the diploma?
Our organisation took a whole number of steps to examine Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma. Specifically, we requested a copy of the diploma from the relevant institutions and at the same time, checked the documents related to the registration of the higher education institution and the publicly available materials. From the agencies in question, we received the following responses to our official requests:
The Administration of the Government where, for years, Shalva Tadumadze was the parliamentary secretary and then the head of the Administration, did not provide us with the requested information on the basis of personal data protection;
The General Prosecutor’s Office refused to provide us with a copy of diploma of newly elected Chief Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, substantiating its decision by the fact that, according to the current legislation, the Prosecutor’s Office does not participate in the process of appointing its head;
Parliament of Georgia which elected Tadumadze to the post of the general prosecutor with 101 votes, refused to release a copy of the diploma stating as the reason that “the Rules of Procedure did not envisage procedures for consistency check” and, correspondingly, the diploma was not submitted to Parliament.
The Ministry of Justice did not respond to our letter at all, due to which we took legal action.
The Bar Association wrote to us that they have a certificate of a bar exam being held (in 2006) but they have no record of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma, since old documents are being destroyed once in a while.
In parallel, we examined the information about the registration of higher education institutions available on the website of the National Agency of Public Registry as well as the documents in the archives.
Based on the information obtained from the legal entities of public law (LEPLs) of the Ministry of Justice – the National Centre for Education Quality Enhancement and the Education Management Information System – the following has been established:
- Inconsistency with regard to the date of enrolment into the higher education institution: both Georgian and English versions of the diploma issued by Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute indicate that Shalva Tadumadze enrolled in the Institute in 1993. However, according to the official documents, this educational institution was founded in 1994, was located in the building of No 62 Public School in Tbilisi and received its license the same year 1994. Shalva Tadumadze indicated 1994 in the resumé submitted to the High Council of Justice as the year of starting his studies, and he confirms this information publicly as well. The same information is published on the website of the Prosecutorial Council. It is noteworthy that Shalva Tadumadze graduated from high school in May 1994, correspondingly, it would have been impossible for him to become a student in 1993.
- Inconsistency with regard to the date of graduation from the higher education institution: The same diploma of Shalva Tadumadze, in both Georgian and English language, indicates that he graduated from the institute in 1998. However, the websites of the Prosecutorial Council and the General Prosecutor’s Office indicate 1999 as the graduation year.
- It is noteworthy that Shalva Tadumadze, in parallel with Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute, in 1994-1998, was doing his bachelor’s studies to become a mining engineer at the Technical University. This information features only on the website of the Prosecutorial Council.
Given the fact that Shalva Tadumadze holds one of the highest-ranking posts in the country and at the same time, participates in the competition for a judicial post in the Supreme Court, there should be no questions concerning his education. Especially because, based on some reports, it is planned to give him a lifetime judicial appointment to the Supreme Court and then elect him its chairman.
Considering all of the above, we call on the relevant agencies to examine the issue of authenticity of Shalva Tadumadze’s diploma without delay and to provide a substantiated answer to legitimate questions. Otherwise, the authenticity of the diploma as it is will remain questionable, which will inflict considerable damage on the reputation of our country’s extremely important institutions.