Tenders of the Ministry of Defense and interests of MP Irina Imerlishvili's family
A few days ago, the mass media reported that the tenders announced by the MInistry of Defence were won by the company "Food Line Georgia" LLC. This company is owned by the spouse of MP and Chairwoman of the Procedural Committee of the Parliament of Georgia, Irina Imerlishvili. A concern was raised by MP Giorgi Kandelaki, UNM over the signs of corruption and nepotism evident in this deal. We therefore decided to provide the public with more information on this case.
On 18 February, 2013, Georgia’s Ministry of Defense announced two online tenders (SPA130004297, SPA130004296) for the provision of food services to military servants of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia. Their total procurement value constituted GEL 73,932,200 and 34,739,500 million respectively. "Food Line Georgia" LLC participated in both tenders; its company's General Director is Shalva Beboshvili, Irina Imerlishvili's spouse.
According to the data obtained from the Entrepreneurial Registry, Shalva Beboshvili was appointed (pg.5) as the Director of "Food Line Georgia" LLC on 4 April 2013. Significantly, this was one day before the start of submissions in the online tenders announced by the Ministry of Defense. On the same day, the 100% shareholder of "Food Line Georgia", Konstantine Managadze, sold (pg.9) the company to Archil Tughushi.
A clause from the sale agreement (pg.14) merits special attention: the sale will be void if "Food Line Georgia" LLC fails to win the online tender for procuring the food services for the military servants of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia (CPV 55500000 – canteen and the public food enterprise services), which is held until 15 April 2013.
As for the tenders announced by the Ministry of Defense directly, the official information states that "Food Line Georgia" LLC (id./c 205289463) was announced the winner of the first tender as a result of trades on 10 April 2013. It was subsequently disqualified, however, due to failure to submit technical documentation. Most importantly, the Tender Commission of the Procurement Agency instructed the company to remedy the gaps identified by the Commission members no later than 15 April. The company did manage to remedy the gaps, but not within the stated deadline. The Commission's protocol stated that "Food Line Georgia" LLC uploaded the bulk of relevant information/documents on the system from 00:01 to 02:49 on 16 April 2013. This was regarded by the Commission as a breach of the terms established by law. Owing to this fact, on 16 April 2013, the Tender Commission decided to disqualify "Food Line Georgia" LLC.
"Food Line Georgia" was, however, announced the winner of the Ministry of Defence’s second tender (SPA130004296), worth GEL 34,739,500 million, by replacing the disqualified company "Lampari 2008" LLC. Although initially winning the tender, "Lampari 2008" LLC was later disqualified by the 16 April 2013 decision of the Tender Commission due to failure to submit tender documentation on time. At the same sitting the Tender Commission decided to address the applicant with the second lowest tender bid: "Food Line Georgia" LLC, which was assigned to submit relevant documentation by 19 April 2013. Should the company meet the requirements of the Tender Commission, it would be declared winner and execute the respective contract.
In the meantime, the shareholder data of "Food Line Georgia" was once again amended. Namely, 50% of the company was sold on 16 April 2013 for 1 GEL to the Israeli citizen Merab Kikozashvili on the condition that the purchaser will invest 1 million USD in the company (pg.8). However, investments will be carried out stage-by-stage. Investment stages will be determined under the schedule of fulfillment of obligations, which will be set by the agreement executed between the Ministry of Defense of Georgia and "Food Line Georgia" based on winning the online tender for procurement of food services for the military servants of the Ministry of Defense of Georgia (CPV 55500000 – canteen and the public food enterprise services).
According to the information posted on the web page of the Competition and State Procurement Agency, prior to 5 April, 2013, "Food Line Georgia" LLC never participated in online tenders. Furthermore, the company "Food Line Georgia" was disqualified from the Ministry of Defense’s first tender before this whole issue came to the media’s attention.
TI Georgia cannot categorically state that this is illegal or corrupt. It is clear, however, that doubts should be raised at the appointment of Irina Imerlishvili's spouse as the Director a day before the auction, along with the sale of the company on the condition that it would win the tender announced by the Ministry of Defense. One of the agreement’s articles signed for the sale of the company is of special interest: the investor will start investing in the company in stages determined under the schedule of fulfillment of obligations, which will be based on the company winning the online tender of procurement announced by the Ministry of Defense. We would like to remind you that the sale agreement was executed on 16 April 2013, while the tender announced by the Ministry of Defense is still not over yet. "Food Line Georgia" is allowed to submit tender documentation until 19 April 2013.