GEO

Security Officers ("ODRs") - existing malpractice

16 October, 2014

 

Transparency International Georgia would once again like to underline a malpractice of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOI) concerning the presence of members of the ministry in other state institutions.

According to the 2013 Resolution N337 the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia is authorized to appoint security officers in other state institutions and important organizations. The presence of representatives of power in public or private institutions is unacceptable in a modern democratic state. Institutions should be as independent as possible from police authorities, which should not interfere in its decisions. International practice illustrates that democratic states have long ago avoided the police control of organizations through officers subordinate to the heads of power actively involved in an organization's management. Civil sector representatives and individuals within the government have been reporting about this problem for quite a while now. Unfortunately, public concerns are not shared by the authorities and the Ministry of Internal Affairs still assigns its employees to various positions of power throughout other institutions.

Zaza Mazmishvili

Blog posts from our organization report that the Advisor to the Chairman of the Georgian National Communications Commission, Zaza Mazmishvili, had been an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. This has been confirmed by information provided by the Commission itself which has admitted he still works in the regulatory body. At the same time he was also the Head of the Security Officers Unit of the State Security Agency of the MOI, as can be shown by the asset declaration submitted by Mazmishvili in 2013.

Nicknamed ‘the General’ by his staff, Mazmishvili is the Advisor to Chairman of the Communications Commission earning up to 5000 GEL monthly. According to our reports, he continues to collect information and question his staff about their activities.

Curiously enough, Mazmishvili’s asset declaration originally posted on 2013, is no longer available on the website of the Civil Service Bureau. We could only obtain his declaration after filing a freedom of information request letter. Unfortunately, no answer was given as to why the declaration is no longer available on the web site.

Whereas information provided by the National Communications Commission states that Mazmishvili started working in the Commission on 1 May 2013, the asset declaration submitted on 14 May 2013 Mazmishvili admits that he is Head of Division (სამმართველო in Georgian). Apart from this mishap which infringes upon the principle of the Commission's independent work from the state, this breeches the Law "on the Conflict of Interests and Corruption in the Civil Service" which stipulates that a state officials cannot perform any remunerated work other than scientific, pedagogic or creative activities, or hold an office in any other treasury institution or treasury enterprise, etc. (Article 13).

Under the asset declaration mentioned, Mazmishvili still holds office as head of the Security Officers Unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ State Security Agency along with the position of Advisor to Chairman in the National Communications Commission. As before, we could only obtain a copy of this declaration after requesting it specifically; it is not available on the web page of the Civil Service Bureau.

Vladimer Bunturidze

For a while Vladimer Bunturidze worked in the same Division as Zaza Mazmishvili. Unlike other employees of this department, Bunturidze's asset declaration is actually found on the website of Civil Service Bureau.

According to the submitted document, he changed jobs several times in 2013 alone. Bunturidze was the Head of Security of private TV Company Rustavi 2, Deputy Head of the Security Officers Unit at the State Security Agency of the MOI, and the Chief adviser to the Minister at the Ministry of Environment of Georgia. The latest data shows that from 2013 onward Bunturidze has been the Deputy Chairman of the Penitentiary Department, a subordinate agency of the Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance of Georgia. Having discovered video materials of secret surveillance in the television, the General Director of TV Company Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia has expressed doubts that Vladimer Bunturidze was cooperating with the authorities: "It's clear that they must have had an ally within the company, and this line now goes to Mr. Bunturidze".  

Vladimer Bunturidze's name also was mentioned in the document printed by the opposition party, according to which, as the Deputy Chairman of the Penitentiary Department by December 2013 he received an annual salary of 38 390 GEL

Zaza Maludze

Public sources contain no information about most of the people that served as Head or their deputies at the Security Officers Unit at the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ State Security Agency, where Zaza Mazmishvili and Vladimer Bunturidze had worked. Zaza Maludze is an exception. According to the declaration of property submitted on 14 March 2013, Maludze served as the Deputy Head of the Security Officers Unit.

In March 2013, businessman Valeri Shoshiashvili stated that high-ranking officials from the Prosecutor's Office and Financial Police were forcing him to transfer funds to the National Movement. Shoshiashvili identified Zaza Maludze among those responsible and stated that Maludze was still an MOI employee at the time. Maludze’s asset declaration claims he was born in 1965; records show that only one person with that name was born under that year. There should be no doubt that we are dealing with the same Zaza Maludze.

In 2005, Maludze submitted an asset declaration as the former Deputy Director of the Patrol Police Department of the MoI. Further, the declaration also says he served as the prosecutor within the Investigation Unit. This is Zaza Maludze's only asset declaration found on the web page of the Civil Service Bureau.

Transparency International Georgia will continue to investigate the topic and to inform the public about the presence of the Interior Ministry's representatives, the so-called "ODRs", in various public institutions. Should you have any information on such practices, please tell us by e-mail or telephone at mamuka@transparency.ge, +995 32 292 14 03.

 

92 14 03.

Author: Ana Dabrundashvili, Mamuka Andguladze