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Uncle of the Majoritarian MP’s Spouse

Uncle of the Majoritarian MP’s SpouseDirector of Sagarejo District Virtue House Ilia Kuchuashvili was illegally fired from job on February 1, 2013. On the same day, Davit Otiashvili, relative of the Sagarejo district majoritarian MP Tina Khidasheli, uncle of her husband Davit Usupashvili, was illegally appointed to the position of the director of the Virtue House.

Sagarejo district Virtue House is a non-commercial, non-profit legal entity. The Organization was founded based on the Decree N 16 of the municipal board issued on February 23, 2009.  According to the statute, its function is to resolve social problems of the population living below poverty level in Sagarejo district and to arrange free canteens. District governor is authorized to appoint and dismiss director of the Virtue House.

You are fired!

Ilia Kuchuashvili had been director of the Sagarejo Virtue House since 2009.

“After Parliamentary Elections of October 1, 2012 I was requested to write resignation letter several times. Head of district administration’s chancellery was demanded to call and request me o write resignation letter three times; finally he called me in the mid of January. It was desire of the district governor and supposedly of other governmental officials too. I refused. I had not done anything wrong and told them I was not going to write resignation letter,” said Ilia Kuchuashvili.

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On January 31, 2013 Sagarejo district governor Giorgi Loladze issued decree N 125 and dismissed Ilia Kuchuashvili from his position.

“In accordance to the Article 39 subparagraph “h” of the Organic Law of Georgia on Local Self-Governance and Articles 78, 79 and 99 of the Law of Georgia about Civil Service, I order: director of the Sagarejo district Virtue House Ilia Kuchuashvili to be fired from the position from February 1, 2013. The order is in force since January 31. The order can be sued at the court within one month time from the date of issue,” the decree reads.

Article 39 subparagraph “h” of the Law on Local Self-Governance authorizes the district governor to appoint and dismiss directors of structural agencies and territorial entities of the district administration (city hall), employees of the district administration (city hall) in accordance to the rules set by the Law of Georgia on Civil Service.

Article 78 of the Law of Georgia on Civil Service refers to disciplinary misconduct. According to this article, disciplinary misconduct is: non-performance or inadequate performance of professional duties (if found guilty); causing damage to the property of the agency or actions threatening to cause damage to the property (if found guilty); An action (guilty behavior) violating general moral norms or discrediting the civil servant or the agency, no matter whether it is committed at work or outside.

Article 79 of the same law sets measures for disciplinary sanctions. According to this article, an official or an agency, authorized to appoint a civil servant to a position, shall impose the following disciplinary sanctions in case of a disciplinary misconduct: a) Reprimand;

b) Warning; c) Reduction of the pay by a sum amounting to no more than 10 working days of the remuneration; d) Suspension from the office for no more than 10 working days. During that period the civil servant shall not receive any remuneration; e) Reduction of the remuneration grade – for a period not to exceed one year; f) Dismissal from the Civil Service pursuant to this law.

Article 99 of the same law, which was also mentioned in the decree of Sagarejo district governor, envisages dismissal for disciplinary misconduct.

Ilia Kuchuashvili applied to the Telavi office of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association for legal aid after being fired from job. On February 28, he presented notification issued by the Sagarejo district administration to the head of GYLA’s Telavi office, which stated: “it is issued on Ilia Kuchuashvili to certify that he really worked at the Sagarejo Virtue House as a director and had never been warned about disciplinary misconduct from January of 2012 to his dismissal.” Ilia Kuchuashvili said that at the Telavi office of the GYLA he was requested to provide some additional documents. “I understood that they did not want to protect me and take up this case because the new director of the Virtue House Davit Otiashvili is relative of the district majoritarian MP Tina Khidasheli. The latter has close relation with the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association,” Ilia Kuchuashvili said.

A leader of the Republic Party of Georgia and member of the parliamentary majority Tina Khidasheli was elected to be board member of the GYLA in November 2012. The board governs the Association and is made up of 21 members. The members are elected for three years. Currently, the website of the GYLA states that Tina Khidasheli’s status as a board member was suspended.

Finally, Ilia Kuchuashvili could not appeal to the court to annul the district governor’s decree and restore him to his working place.

Uncle of the Majoritarian MP on the Position

Sagarejo district administration did not announce competition on the vacant place of the director of the Virtue House. On the same day, on February 1, when Kuchuashvili was fired from job, Davit Otiashvili was appointed to the position.

Davit Otiashvili is uncle of the chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Davit Usupashvili (spouse of his aunt); Tina Khidasheli, majoritarian MP from Georgian Dream in Sagarejo district, is wife of Davit Usupashvili.

Giorgi Loladze, who was appointed to the position of Sagarejo district governor after the parliamentary elections of October 1, 2012 without competition, is a friend of Tina Khidasheli.

Resolution N 137 of the Sagarejo district governor issued on February 1, 2013 reads: based on the Article 30 “f” of the Law of Georgia on Civil Service, I order to appoint Davit Otiashvili to the position of director of Sagarejo Virtue House for six months from February 1, 2013 and his pay will be 700 lari.”

We interviewed Davit Otiashvili and asked how he had learned that the position of the director of the Virtue House was vacant.

-Mr. Davit, Ilia Kuchuashvili was fired from the position of the Virtue House director on February 1, 2013. So, the district administration did not announce vacancy competition and on the same day you were appointed to the position. How did you learn that the position was vacant?

-I applied to the district governor and the municipal board approved me to the position.

-Did you know that the position was vacant?

-I knew.

-When did you apply for the position?

-On February 1,

-How did you know that this position was vacant?

-I knew because … how should I explain to you… I live in the district and learned that the man had resigned. I filed application, had interview and then they accepted me; they did not refuse me to occupy the position.

-As we found out, you are uncle of Davit Usupashvili, the chairman of the Parliament.

-yes, it is true.

-What kind of relatives you are?

-There is nothing to hide here. He is nephew of my wife.

-Did your relation with the parliament’s chairman play any role in appointing you to the position? Moreover, if we take into consideration the fact that Tina Khidasheli is also majoritarian candidate in Sagarejo.

-It did not play any role at all. I do not know Tina properly; of course I know her on the face but Khidasheli does not know me at all.

-Where did you work before?

-I was unemployed.

 

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Former director of the Virtue House Ilia Kuchuashvili used to get 600 lari as a monthly pay. According to the acting law, the municipal board defines the monthly pay based on its resolution. In 2013 the municipal board did not introduce any changes to the resolution in this direction.

We asked Sagarejo district governor Giorgi Loladze what became reason of firing Ilia Kuchuashvili from the position and why the uncle of the majoritarian MP’s husband was appointed to the same position on the same day.

-Why did you fire Ilia Kuchuashvili from the position of the director of Virtue House?

 

-As far as I know he had brought low standard product –meat  to the Virtue House.

-When did he bring it?

-In the same period, I do not remember concrete date.

-What do you mean by low standard meat?

-It was bad meat for the Virtue House.

-Was any protocol drafted on this fact?

-I do not remember.

-Could not you use any other form of disciplinary sanction – like reprimand, strict reprimand, warning, notice… Why did you fire him immediately?

-That person had formally occupied that position. According to my information, he was driver of the former majoritarian MP Zaza Gulikashvili. He was registered there but did not go to work at all. Simply he used to get salary and did not implement imposed responsibilities.

-That’s why I am asking you. Could not you use any other form of disciplinary sanction instead directly firing him?

-We decided that his dismissal was right sanction.

-On February 1, Davit Otiashvili was appointed to the vacant position, whose monthly pay is 700 lari based on your decree. Why did you increase his salary whilst it was only 600 lari before?

-He took that salary only one month and then recovered the over-payment back. There was some mistake.

-What criteria did you rely on when selecting him for the vacant position? The competition was not announced at all.

-They are interim directors and all of them were hired before competitions were announced.

-Your decree does not show that Davit Otiashvili is interim director; it states that he is director.

-Every new employee in the local agencies is interim employee.

-How it can be so? Director is written here. If he is interim director, the document should also state that he is interim director.

-Everybody is interim employee.

-What criteria did you rely on when you selected him for the position?

-I had to appoint somebody.

-Yes, you had but among whom you selected him?

-We did not select him among anybody. He is interim director.

-Could not you appoint any other person to the position, somebody with better qualification?

-How many? How many people should occupy one position?

-I am asking the same – why did you choose exactly Otiashvili?

-Because he is honest person.

-Did you know him personally?

-Yes, I did.

-How did he learn that the position was vacant? Did you tell him about it?

-We did not announce a competition. We have employed a lot of people as interim workers; I knew some of them. I know him and who else could inform him about it?

-So, you informed him about it?

-Yes, of course I did.

-Where do you know him from?

-I live in this district and know local people.

-Did not his relation to certain people play role in your decision?

-No.

-Do you know whose relative he is?

-Whose?

-He is Davit Usupashvili’s uncle, Tina Khidasheli’s relative.

-I do not know whose relative he is, really I do not. I knew him personally.

-Did not you know that Davit Otiashvili is husband of Davit Usupashvili’s aunt?

-No, he is not his uncle.

-Yes he is. He also confirmed it.

-I do not know.

-The district administration had not signed labor contract with Ilia Kuchuashvili. He was appointed to the position based on the order by previous government for uncertain time. Why did not you pay him compensation when you fired him?

-We fired him because he had made disciplinary mistake and did not deserve compensation.

-Do you have document on his disciplinary misconduct?

-There must be one.

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There is no document

In accordance to the resolution N 16 of the Sagarejo municipal board issued on February 23, 2009, director of the Virtue House is accountable before the Sagarejo district governor (Article 7 Paragraph 1); Sagarejo municipal board controls the Virtue House (Article 7 Paragraph 3).

On April 24, 2013 Information Center of Kakheti requested public information from Sagarejo district administration and municipal board asking whether any form of disciplinary sanction was used against Ilia Kuchuashvili from January 1, 2012 to his dismissal from job or if there was any protocol at the administration or at the municipal board on his disciplinary misconduct like accepting low quality meat to the free canteen that allegedly became ground of Kuchuashvili’s dismissal, or any other disciplinary sanctions.

Chairman of Sagarejo municipal board Ilia Chiaureli notified to us that there are no materials demonstrating any disciplinary misconduct by Ilia Kuchuashvili during his professional activities.

On April 26, district governor Giorgi Loladze wrote to us (letter N r-39) that from January 2012 to February 1, 2013 Ilia Kuchuashvili had not received any reprimand and no disciplinary sanctions were used against him. The district administration does not hold any information about professional misconduct by Ilia Kuchuashvili during his acting as a director of Virtue House.

Lawyer Giorgi Mshvenieradze clarified that when a person is fired from job because of disciplinary misconduct, he has right to receive information about alleged misconduct in written form and to appeal against it if he does not agree with it.

In accordance to the Article 53 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia, an administrative decree shall include a written justification. Paragraph 5 of the same Article states that an administrative agency may not ground its decision on the circumstances, facts,

evidence, or arguments that have not been examined and analyzed during the administrative proceeding. Letter sent by the Sagarejo municipal board and district governor’s decree show that district administration had not conducted administrative proceeding.

Illegal Decrees

One more significant detail. Article 2 Paragraph 4 of the Law of Georgia on Civil Service lists local self-governmental agencies whose activities are considered to be civil service. According to the law, those agencies are: municipal board, district administration, city hall and municipality.

Lawyer Giorgi Mshvenieradze said that activities of the director of non-commercial legal entity Sagarejo Virtue House cannot be considered to be civil service. “If the status states that district governor is authorized to dismiss the director of the non-commercial legal entity, he has right to fire concrete person for disciplinary misconduct too. Of course, in this context it is not correct to rely on the aforementioned norms of the Law of Georgia on Civil Service,” the lawyer said.

So, Sagarejo district governor had issued the aforementioned decrees in contradiction to the law – both the decree on the dismissal of Ilia Kuchuashvili from job and decree on appointment of Davit Otiashvili to the position of the Virtue House director were illegal.

Information Center of Kakheti requested information about non-commercial legal entities Virtue Houses from all eight districts of Kakheti region. Based on the provided documents, we clarified whether the activities of the directors of virtue houses are considered to be civil service. None of district governors nor chairmen of the municipal boards rely on the Law of Georgia on Civil Service when appointing or dismissing the directors of the Virtue Houses in their districts. When issuing the decree, they rely on the Organic Law of Local Self-Governance,””Civil Code” and statute of the non-commercial legal entity “Virtue House.

Natia Danelishvili| Information Center of Kakheti 

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