Questions regarding the constructions belonging to public officials in Adjara
Transparency International Georgia continues to examine the legality of ongoing and completed constructions on land plots owned by public officials in Adjara.
In August 2022, TI Georgia revealed the fact of the unauthorized construction of a house on a plot of land belonging to the wife of Khelvachauri Mayor Zaza Diasamidze.
The present blog focuses on constructions without a permit and/or with a permit issued after commencing the construction work on plots of land owned by other public officials.
Unauthorized construction in Keda by the Deputy Health Minister of Adjara Eduard Nakashidze
Eduard Nakashidze, the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Affairs of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, illegally built a house on a plot of land belonging to him in Keda. According to the asset declaration submitted in 2022, Eduard Nakashidze spent 18,000 GEL on house renovations in 2021. The house is located in the village of Arsenauli, near the Keda center.
The Google Earth data shows that Nakashidze started the construction of the house in 2018. At that time, Eduard Nakashidze worked in the Property Management Unit of the Department of Property Management and Privatization of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Adjara.
Transparency International Georgia requested information on whether the Deputy Minister had a permit to build a house from the City Hall of Keda Municipality on 7 September 2022, but despite numerous repeated reminders, we have not received a response from the City Hall. Later, on 21 September, Transparency International Georgia requested the information from the same City Hall, related to the construction permit of Roman Davitadze, the First Deputy Chairman of the Keda Assembly, which we received within the timeframe established by the law. Consequently, we assumed that the Keda City Hall had intentionally undisclosed information related to the Deputy Minister of Health of Adjara, thereby violating the law regarding the release of public information. Therefore, we applied to the Court.
After filing the lawsuit, on 27 January 2023, the Keda City Hall responded that “the construction permit documentation has been prepared and the relevant administrative proceedings regarding the issuance of the construction permit on the mentioned plot of land have been initiated.” However, the Keda City Hall neither provided information about a project of a house submitted by Nakashidze nor the document of approval for the project. The letter indicates that the Deputy Minister of Health of Adjara has not obtained a permit even after the construction of the house.
Alleged unauthorized constructions of the wife of Kobuleti Assembly Chairman Davit Mchedlishvili
In 2020, Irma Gogitidze, the wife of the Chairman of the Kobuleti Assembly Davit Mchedlishvili, allegedly carried out illegal construction works near 244 Shota Rustaveli Street in Kobuleti. Particularly, she added multiple floors to an existing house, thereby increasing its total area 5 times. This fact is confirmed by data from the cadastral map and the asset declarations of Davit Mchedlishvili: in the declaration submitted on 23 January 2020, the total area of the house is indicated as 600 square meters and the declaration submitted on 28 January 2021 reveals that the area of the house is now 3023.3 square meters. The guesthouse is located in this building.
In 2021, the media outlet Batumelebi wrote an article about the illegal constructions of Davit Mchedlishvili and his family members. We were interested in if the municipality fined Mchedlishvili’s wife for illegal construction and/or if she applied to the municipality to obtain the relevant permit after the publication of the article. Hence, we requested public information from the City Hall on 16 September 2022, but we have not received a response to date. We have already applied to the court for not providing the requested information.
Khulo Inn - a hotel belonging to the family of Lasha Bolkvadze, a high-ranking official of the Office of the Adjara Government
Tariel Bolkvadze, the father of Lasha Bolkvadze the Head of the Procurement Unit of the Adjara government, received a construction permit for the Khulo Inn hotel on 7 September 2022 – however, at that time, the construction was already completed and the exterior finishing was underway. The hotel is located near the center of Khulo, on the Batumi-Akhaltsikhe highway. Tariel Bolkvadze owns the plot of land on which the hotel was built since 2011.
In 2020, the Commission of Khulo Municipality for Recognition of the Property Rights to Squatted land gave ownership to Tariel Bolkvadze another plot of land (5,000 square meters) alongside the building on it in the Khulo municipality near the vicinity of the original land plot. The Google Earth confirms that Tariel Bolkvadze carried out construction without a permit on this land plot in 2015. At that time, his son Lasha Bolkvadze was the First Deputy Head of the Municipal Administration of Khulo.
Picture: The land plot as of August 2015
In 2014-2018, Lasha Bolkvadze was the First Deputy Head of the Municipal Administration/First Deputy Mayor, in 2018-2019 he served as the Deputy Director of the Goderdzi Resort LLC established by the Government of Adjara, and from June 2019 to the present, he is the Head of the Procurement Unit of the Office of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
Alleged unauthorized construction of the wife of the Head of the Adjara Forestry Agency Temur Kurshubadze
Tamila Dumbadze is the wife of Temur Kurshubadze, the Head of the LEPL Forestry Agency of Adjara. In 2020, she presumable constructed two new buildings on the 2500 square meter land plot owned by her and renovated two existing structures on the same plot without a permit.
These facts are confirmed by data from the cadastral map and statements from the Public Registry. In particular, the statement of 26 August 2020 shows 2 buildings with a total area of 219.3 square meters (#1 - 214.8 square meters and #2 - 4.5 square meters), and the next statement of 3 September 2020 indicates 4 buildings with a total area of 330.37 square meters (#1 - 251.25 square meters, #2 - 49.37 square meters, #3 - 9.6 square meters and #4 - 20.15 square meters). On 21 September 2022, we requested the City Hall of Kobuleti Municipality to provide information about the permits for these constructions. We have not received a response yet, which suggests that a permit from the Municipality may not have been issued.
Picture: The land plot as of 2018 Picture: The land plot as of 2023