Uninvestigated Cases of Alleged High-Level Corruption in Georgia — A Periodically Updated List - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
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Uninvestigated Cases of Alleged High-Level Corruption in Georgia — A Periodically Updated List

20 January, 2021

 

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) has begun a systematised process of collecting information about cases of alleged high-level corruption in Georgia, which have been revealed in recent years and have not been investigated. Our goal is to create a regularly updated resource which will enable the tracking of each individual case as well as to see the true scale of high-level corruption in Georgia.

In recent years, high-level, so-called “elite” corruption and the lack of appropriate response to it has emerged as one of the main challenges facing Georgia. Conclusions by local civil society,[1] evaluations by international organisations,[2] results of a range of global ratings[3] and public opinion surveys conducted in Georgia[4] – all point to the existence and seriousness of this problem.

The essence of the problem is that the agencies responsible for preventing and dealing with corruption-related crimes in Georgia (the General Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service) for the most part do not respond to corruption cases that involve high-ranking public officials in the central government or persons with close ties to the ruling party. For example, the 2018 (the latest) report of the State Security Service states that the highest-ranking officials detained by the agency for corruption were a municipality mayor and a former governor. Cases of possible corruption reported to these agencies on a regular basis by TI Georgia are also left without a response.

We believe that the surest way to address this problem is the establishment of an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency, equipped with adequate resources and authority to investigate corruption-related violations that take place at the highest level of government. A relevant draft law prepared with the involvement of TI Georgia was registered in the Parliament in August 2020. We hope that the Parliament will support this initiative and a real fight against elite corruption will begin in Georgia.

Until then, as a kind of preparatory work, we have launched this catalogue of alleged cases of high-level corruption, which will be periodically updated to include investigations published by not only TI Georgia but other civil society and media organisations as well.

According to Georgian law,[5] information which was supplied to an investigator or a prosecutor or was published in the media may become a basis for launching an investigation. Since investigative bodies rarely respond to alleged corruption cases reported by the media, we believe that this catalogue will prove to be a useful tool for them as well.

Selection criteria

The list includes alleged cases of corruption that satisfy the following conditions:

  1. The information disseminated about them, without conducting a comprehensive investigation, raises substantiated suspicion about the occurrence of a corruption-related violation.
  2. High-level public officials or persons with close connections to the ruling party are involved.
  3. No appropriate response has been issued: an investigation was never launched or was not completed over a reasonable time period.

If you think that a specific case needs to be added to this list, please, contact us using the contact information indicated on our website.

Alleged Cases of High-Level Corruption

Last update:

27 December 2020

Involvement of Former or Incumbent Public Officials in Alleged Corrupt Deals

  • The so-called Omega Group case

In September 2018, according to businessman Zaza Okuashvili’s statement and secret audio recordings which were made public, a deal took place between private companies, representatives of different government institutions and influential persons connected to the ruling party leadership, which involved using the powers of public officials to ensure a dominant position on the tobacco market for these companies. The income generated as a result would be distributed between the companies and the groups linked to the ruling party. The names of Vice Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili, Competition Agency head Nodar Khaduri, former Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze and ruling party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili were mentioned in the materials.

Publication date: 26 September 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/39NgUM7

  • Unlawful transfer of property to former chief prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze

In February 2016, the State Audit Office published a conclusion, according to which Tbilisi City Hall unlawfully transferred the property to former Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze’s company BSR-CDG Development, which could be the result of a certain corrupt deal.

Publication date: 28 February 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/39NTLt5

  • Signs of corruption at Tbilisi City Hall’s ‘Zoning Council’

As a result of studying the 2014-2017 activities of Tbilisi City Hall’s Regulatory Council on the Use and Development of Territories (so-called “Zoning Council”), many instances of alleged conflict of interest and corruption were uncovered.

Publication date: 18 October 2017

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2LPC3gH

  • Signs of corruption in the process of managing land in and around the Tbilisi Botanical Garden

The process of privatization of 29 hectares of land within the recreational zone adjacent to Tbilisi Botanical Garden as well as issuing a special zoning agreement to build a hotel on this and adjacent land plots was essentially fictitious and served to create a legal basis for an earlier, informal decision.

Publication date: 13 May 2016

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3p31ObM

  • Signs of corruption at the Ministry of Culture

A study of the conflict of interests and corruption risks at the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection revealed that companies with direct or indirect links to the minister and other high-ranking officials of the ministry often received budget money/funding from the ministry, bypassing competition and tenders.

Publication date: 6 May 2016

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3qygKz9

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Election-related Cases

  • An alleged case of mass vote-buying

After the first round of the 2018 presidential election, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Cartu Foundation promised 600,000 voters to write off their debts. It was a clear case of voter bribery and misuse of administrative resources, since the Government of Georgia was actively involved in the process of fulfilling this promise.

Publication date: 19 November 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3sG8C1o

____________________________________________________________________________

Cases of Suspicious Enrichment of Former and Incumbent Public Officials

  • Suspicious enrichment of Aleksandre Chikaidze

Former Minister of Internal Affairs Aleksandre Chikaidze managed to accumulate considerable assets soon after leaving public office, which was accompanied by a number of suspicious circumstances.

Publication date: 28 February 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3sEw1QJ

  • Defence minister’s undeclared house construction expenses

In 2013-2018, then Defence Minister Levan Izoria built two houses but, in violation of the law, failed to indicate the related expenses in his asset declaration. Furthermore, the origins of these expenses raise questions.

Publication date: 11 December 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2KyV5Yg

  • Suspicious enrichment of former Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze

The assets of former Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze and his wife increased considerably after he had left his post. While he was in office, his family owned two properties of 226 sq. m in total; as of late 2018, however, he became the owner of up to 24 properties with the combined space of 7,900 sq. m.

Publication date: 9 November 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2LEZV6X

____________________________________________________________________________

Alleged Corruption Cases related to Public Procurement

  • Signs of corruption in public procurement carried out during state of emergency

TI Georgia examined the public procurements made during the state of emergency (21 March – 22 May 2020) and uncovered 21 specific procurements showing links between donations made to the ruling party and contracts won. Among them, there are two procurements when contracts with companies were signed only a few days after they had made donations. These companies are Kvarlis Edemi, LLC and K da Kartuli Spirti, LLC.

Publication date: 7 July 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3bVyOiH

  • Suspicious public tenders received by companies associated with MP Viktor Japaridze

The companies owned by Georgian MP Viktor Japaridze and his son, Otar Japaridze, have received public contracts worth GEL 6,264,688 since 2018. Part of this amount was received through simplified procurements while, in case of tenders, there is a suspicion that the tender conditions may have been tailored to fit Otar Japaridze’s company.

Publication date: 3 July 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/39Nrenw

  • Suspicious public tenders received by companies associated with MP Anzor Bolkvadze

Three companies that belong to the relatives of Georgian MP Anzor Bolkvadze (cousin Roman Bolkvadze – Giga 2015, LLC; daughter-in-law Guranda Gobadze – Aisi, LLC; and nephew Archil Kedelidze – Kede, LLC) received income of up to GEL 6m from public procurements in Adjara in 2016-2020, mostly without competition.

Publication date: 24 June 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3o0MGdM

  • Suspicious public tenders received by Bidzina Ivanishvili’s relative in Imereti

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s relative Murman Togonidze (Msheninvesti, LLC and individual entrepreneur) has since 2014 received GEL 16,395,501 from the budgets of various municipalities of Imereti through public procurement. He won the highest number of procurements in Sachkhere Municipality.

Publication date: 18 June 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3nY83MJ

  • Signs of corruption in the Tbilisi City Hall procurements related to New Year celebrations

There were signs of adapted tenders and corruption in Tbilisi City Hall’s procurements related to the New Year’s events of 2019 (GEL 6.6m). There is a suspicion that the New Year’s procurements were adapted to the Italian company IDO SRL which has been receiving public contracts without competition for years.

Publication date: 6 June 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3qz7BWY

  • Business interests of Giorgi Zedelashvili’s family members in the construction of hydroelectric power plants and roads

The circumstances surrounding the construction of two hydroelectric power plants in Kakheti raise a suspicion that favorable conditions may have been created artificially for the companies connected to Giorgi Zedelashvili (former first deputy secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council).

Publication date: 28 May 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2LPDs6X

  • Suspicious public tenders received by the company Giorgi Zedelashvili’s mother

The company owned by the mother of Giorgi Zedelashvili, former first deputy secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council, Roads Construction and Repair Company “Serpantini” started winning large tenders in 2013 (over GEL 105m in Kakheti region alone). The suspicious circumstances include disqualified competitors, terminated tenders, tenders without competition.

Publication date: 17 February 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2M4TWYL

  • Suspicious public tenders received by companies associated with former MP Enzel Mkoian

Three companies owned by the children, brother and uncle of Enzel Mkoian, former MP elected from the single-seat district of Akhalkalaki-Ninotsminda, received GEL 2,312,278 from the budget in fuel procurement in Javakheti in 2010-2019. Enzel Mkoian himself purchased fuel for his single-seat district MP Bureau only from his family’s companies.

Publication date: 30 January 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3ir1i52

  • Suspicious public tenders received by companies associated with former MP Ioseb Makrakhidze

The companies connected to Makrakhidze and his family members (Ibolia, LLC; daughter Ophelia Makrakhidze – Shara, LLC; brother Aleksandre Makrakhidze – ArkMshenStudia 2002, LLC) received over GEL 91.8 through tenders after his nomination as candidate from single-seat district of Gori.

Publication date: 2 September 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3o1tw7m

  • Possible case of rigged tender specifications related to vehicle procurement

In 2013-2018, public agencies purchased Russian-made Niva cars worth up to GEL 3m from Global Motors Georgia – GMG, LLC (whose founder Gocha Rostiashvili is a cousin of Shalva Obgaidze, member of Tbilisi City Council from Georgian Dream), mostly through tenders in which they had no competition and whose conditions were, in all likelihood, adapted to fit the company.

Publication date: 18 July 2018

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/39RO5y2

____________________________________________________________________________

Alleged Corruption Cases at the Municipal Level

  • Signs of corruption in the public procurement of Shida Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti municipalities

The companies of former high-ranking officials from Shida Kartli and Samtskhe-Javakheti (Avtandil Kachkachishvili and Giorgi Baliashvili) and large donors to Georgian Dream (Nugzar and Nukri Abalaki) – Sagzao Samsheneblo Sammartvelo No 1, LLC and Sagzao Samsheneblo Sammartvelo No 2, LLC – were granted procurements worth over GEL 200m in 2011-2020, mostly without competition.

Publication date: 7 October 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3sH7Hha

  • Signs of corruption in the public procurement of Kakheti municipalities

The analysis of procurements made by eight municipalities in Kakheti (over GEL 167m in 2013-2020) revealed that, frequently, the tenders are won and simplified procurement contracts are awarded to the companies with connections to incumbent or former public officials (in 17 cases among 58 entities). Out of 52 LLCs, 32 started being awarded simplified procurement contracts and winning competition-free tenders soon after being established, in some cases – within several days.

Publication date: 6 October 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/38Y3LR9

  • TV station of deputy chair of Ninotsminda Municipal Council wins local tenders without competition

Deputy Chairperson of Ninotsminda Council Konstantin Vardanian’s TV and Radio Station Parvana has received GEL 320,645 from Ninotsminda’s procurement budget since 2014, when Vardanian received his appointment. After Vardanian assumed his post, Parvana also received a property of 273 sq. m in Ninotsminda free of charge from the city hall.

Publication date: 17 July 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/39LYpYw

  • Companies associated with Samtskhe-Javakheti public officials receive tenders in Samtskhe-Javakheti

After the election of Akhaltsikhe Mayor Zaza Melikidze, his brother Tamaz Melikidze (Nukia, LLC) and sister-in-law Nana Maisuradze (N(N)LP Satnoebis Sakhli) have been winning tenders in Akhaltsikhe Municipality. After the election of Aspindza Council Chairperson Mamuka Melikidze, his brother Malkhaz Melikidze (XXI Century, JSC) started winning tenders in Aspindza Municipality.

Publication date: 8 May 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2M4k85Y

  • Corruption risks involved in competition-free procurements in Kobuleti Municipality

The director of Georgian Stone, LLC is Badri Romanadze, former head of Kobuleti Municipality Architecture Service (2011-2014). The company received GEL 18,809,434 from Kobuleti Municipality procurements in 2015-2019.

Publication date: 23 April 2020

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3o4LMwO

  • Business partner of Sagarejo Municipal Council chair received GEL 1.4m from Sagarejo Municipal procurements

A business partner of Sagarejo Municipal Council Chairperson Otar Chalatashvili, Otar Buzariashvili (Akhali Kompania 2018, LLC), received GEL 1.4m from the procurements of Sagarejo Municipality, of which GEL 1,336,748 was received through simplified procurement procedures.

Publication date: 16 December 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2LNtza1

  • Signs of corruptions in Sighnaghi Municipality procurements

Ivane Mirianashvili has been the chairperson of the Georgian Dream faction at Sighnaghi Municipality Council since 2017. The companies owned by his son, Davit Mirianashvili, and persons close to him (Seivoni, LLC, M.S.Msheni, LLC, Inter Plus, LLC, Orba 7, LLC, TNC, LLC and Tsotne, LLC) received procurement contracts worth GEL 5.3m in 2013-2019.

Publication date: 27 November 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/390OGi4

  • Company of Batumi City Council member’s family wins Batumi City Hall’s tenders without competition

The company Acharaganateba, LLC, owned by the family of Irakli Topuridze, member of the Georgian Dream Faction of Batumi City Council, received over GEL 23m from Batumi City Hall procurements in 2011-2019 without competition and, in some cases, through rigged tender specifications.

Publication date: 25 November 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/38ZvKQq

  • Company of Akhaltsikhe mayor’s advisor wins tenders in Akhaltsikhe

The company Mshenebeli 2004 owned by Gelvasi Geladze, advisor to Akhaltsikhe Mayor Zaza Melikidze (on the issues of infrastructure) is winning competition-free tenders of Akhaltsikhe Municipality. Gelvasi Geladze simultaneously was (and remains) a member of the tender and delivery and acceptance commissions, supervisor of ongoing projects as well as the implementing party.

Publication date: 21 October 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3p591YQ

  • Business partner of Tsalenjikha Municipal Council chair wins competition-free tenders in Tsalenjikha

Since Temur Ghvinjilia assumed the post of the chairperson of Tsalenjikha Municipal Council, his business partner Bagrat Ghvinjilia (Tsalenjikhis Sagzao Sammartvelo, LLC) has been winning tenders (over GEL 5m) announced by Tsalenjikha Municipality without competition.

Publication date: 1 October 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/2LHPtLY

  • Companies of Akhaltsikhe mayor win tenders in Akhaltsikhe

After Zaza Melikidze was elected mayor of Akhaltsikhe in 2015, the companies he owns or owned in the past (Meliza, LLC and Meskheti XXI, LLC) started being awarded public procurement contracts by Akhaltsikhe Municipality.

Publication date: 15 July 2019

Investigation status: Unknown

Source: TI Georgia – https://bit.ly/3qBtNQb

 


[1] Transparency International Georgia, Corruption and Anti-Corruption Policy in Georgia: 2016-2020, 20 October 2020, https://bit.ly/3nYnuo3; Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, The Georgian National Anti-Corruption System is Ineffective against High Level Corruption, 12 October 2018, https://bit.ly/38Zt2KK; Open Society Georgia Foundation, Addressing High-Level Corruption in Georgia: Progress Toward Meeting the EU-Georgia Association Agenda Commitments, 27 March 2018, https://bit.ly/3c3xiL8 

[2] European Parliament, European Parliament resolution of 14 November 2018 on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Georgia, https://bit.ly/37M4LGh

[3] Transparency International Georgia, Results of 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index Point to Stagnation of Anti-Corruption Reforms in Georgia, 23 January 2020, https://bit.ly/2KwLKjJ; Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Indexes are Worsening, 9 December 2020, https://bit.ly/3ivWfjz

[4] Transparency International Georgia, Corruption in Georgia: Results of Public Opinion Survey, 8 June 2020, https://bit.ly/2XXIy3G

[5] Criminal Procedure Code (Articles 100, 101)

corruption