Investigation into instances of alleged election fraud must be launched
Last week, an employee of the Public Service Development Agency informed us that the Agency is allegedly producing fake identification cards. According to this employee, fake ID cards are being printed with the purpose of rigging the second round of the presidential elections in favour of Salome Zurabishvili, and the Agency’s high-ranking officials are supervising the process.
According to the source, it was decided to print fake IDs after the first round of the elections. The source said that Soso Giorgadze, chairman of the Public Service Development Agency, and Bezhan Obgaidze, head of the Internal Audit Service of the Agency, are in charge of the process. The source explained that a special meeting concerning this topic was held last week. According to the plan, five IDs are to be printed per person, indicating different last names, first names, and personal numbers but the same photo of that one person. The information about that person would appear in the voter rolls of several polling stations, making it possible for one person to vote at several polling stations with different ID cards, which means voting according to a so-called “carousel principle”.
The source is not aware of the scale of this plan or how many fake ID cards are going to be printed. The source said that the ID cards are being printed by several territorial offices of the Agency. The source also said that, in the regions, the heads of the territorial offices who are not considered “trustworthy”, have been sent on business trips, while “trustworthy” people have been sent to replace them. According to the source, Arkadi Pipia, head of the Tsalenjikha territorial office, and Zurab Khvedelidze, head of the Gardabani territorial office of the Agency, were deemed “untrustworthy”. In Tsalenjikha, Manuchar Nachkebia is acting as the head of the territorial office while the latter is away on a business trip. Arkadi Pipia confirmed to our representatives that he is away on a business trip. According to the information we have obtained, Zurab Khvedelidze is also likely to be away on a business trip while Gvantsa Menapire is performing his duties during this time.
Based on the information we have at the time, it is impossible to determine how large-scale this plan is.
Forging documents and rigging elections are criminal offenses. Such actions could irreparably damage the election environment and challenge the legitimacy of the elections.
The corresponding investigative agencies must look into the alleged forgery of identification documents. We, therefore, call on the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to promptly begin the investigation and carry out corresponding measures envisaged by the law.
Georgian Young Lawyers' Association
Transparency International Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy