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Compensations from Cartu Bank at the Expense of Fabricated Protocols

Compensations from Cartu Bank at the Expense of Fabricated ProtocolsSeveral days ago, police arrested four members of the Commission for the Evaluation of the Natural Disaster Impact under the charge of corruption. Information Center of Kakheti studied which documents were faked by the commission members and what connection the Gurjaani district governor Akaki Osiashvili has with this corruptive scheme.

On July 19, 2012 a heavy natural disaster happened in Kakheti. Hail and storm annihilated harvests in the villages of Telavi, Gurjaani, Kvareli, Lagodekhi and Sagarejo districts. The storm removed roofs from houses; electricity wires were torn, trees were rooted out, the hail completely annihilated harvest in 38 villages. That time government under leadership of Prime-Minister Vano Merabishvili divided the victims of the natural disaster in three categories. People from the first category – the families who lost 100 % of their harvest received compensation of 1 300-1500 lari. The second category unified those families, who lost only 70-80% of harvest and received 800-900 lari. The third category lost only 50% of their harvest and received only 300-500 lari from the state. The financial allowances were distributed in August, one and half month before parliamentary elections.

Leader of the Coalition Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili promised full compensation of the damage to the victims of the disaster.

“I have just seen peach-gardens and vine-yards; they are completely annihilated. There are families who expected 100, 35, 50 tons of harvest. They want to pay only 1 500 lari to those families. It will not work. I suggest them to calculate total damage, they should evaluate one kilo of grape with 1 lari, the same price for peach, the real loss and expenditure shall be evaluated. They promise to pay 1 500 lari to the peasant who was expecting harvest of 50 000 and 30 000 lari. It is not right. We will evaluate everybody’s damage and tell them – here is the money and real damage; then let us see how they will pay,” Ivanishvili said during his visit in Vachnadziani village.

 

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After parliamentary elections, Charity Foundation Cartu, which is funded by Bidzina Ivanishvili, allocated 95 million lari to assist victims of disaster. Prime-Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili instructed the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to evaluate and document the real loss. The ministry had to implement the job together with the local self-governmental bodies. The process of evaluation prolonged in Gurjaani district. Although members of the United National Movement, district governor Davit Meskhishvili and chairman of the municipal board Zakaria Iaganashvili quitted positions on November 19, the municipal board could not appoint the new interim governor on time. Georgian Dream’s activists, who opposed the candidature of the Coalition member Akaki (Joni) Osiashvili, broke into the session several times and failed it. On December 10, 2012 the municipal board finally elected Osiashvili to the position of the interim governor.

On December 13, 2012, based on the resolution N 1839 of the interim governor Akaki Osiashvili the working group was set up. The group was ordered to cooperate and provide relevant assistance to the Commission for the Evaluation of the Natural Disaster Impact and Its Liquidation in Kakheti Region.” The group members were: Bichiko Maisuradze – chief specialist of the supervision service; Shalva Bachukashvili, Valeri Kavlashvili and Rati Chkoidze – specialists of the infrastructural development service; Irakli Utiashvili – specialist of the administrative service.

Based on the same resolution, working groups were set up in the villages too. 16-member group was created in Chumlaki village. Ioram Ortoidze was chairman of the commission. Before parliamentary elections Ortoidze was activist of the National Movement and specialist of the Chumlaki village territorial entity. Commission members were: Zakaria Ruadze, Zala Datuashvili, Manana Sparsiashvili, Lali Dzebisashvili, Bondo Maisuradze, Ana Kudzeshvili, Giorgi Dvali, Beso Berukashvili, Alika Osiashvili, Natela Kartlelishvili, Mamuka Ruadze, Marika Burdiashvili, Maya Mitarishvili, Otari Datuashvili, Gia Shaoshvili. The district working group was in charge to supervise the Chumlaki village working group – namely Rati Chkoidze, specialist of the infrastructural service was the responsible person.

Dali Kochashvili’s Statement

 In April of 2013, Dali Kochashvili, resident of Chumlaki village, filed complaint to the Gurjaani district prosecutor’s office. She blamed the commission members in the corruption.

“I have been visiting the governor during three months; I applied to everybody but nobody ever replied to my questions. I applied to the Ministry of Infrastructure and they forwarded me to the prosecutor’s office. I argue because the commission did not correctly work in Chumlaki village and the sums were illegally distributed. The commission members assisted only their family members and close people. Really victimized people did not get even a tetri. People received two compensations for one plot. Some of them even had sold those plots but since receive-acceptance documents were not timely drawn, two people received sums for one plot – old and new owners. The commission members knew about it very well.

-Did not you tell about it to the district governor Akaki Mosiashvili when you met him?

 -The district governor had information about it. I told him and then sent complaint too. I visited him at his wife’s house in Kotekhi and told similar things were happening in Chumlaki. I asked him for assistance because the commission was not working properly. He said neither he had received compensation and promised we would get it. It happened two weeks before I appealed to the prosecutor’s office.

 

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 On May 1, 2013 Gurjaani district police officers arrested commission members Ioram Ortoidze, Giorgi Dvali and Besik Berukashvili for the abuse of their professional power. The statement of the MIA released on May 2 reads:

“In the course of investigation it was established that head commission for calculation of  the damage caused by disaster and two members of working group did not fulfill their duties in accordance with the law, in particular failed to calculate the number of land areas and assess the quality of damage. For their own benefit and for the benefit of their relatives and other affected civilians the mentioned persons made an illegal deal and spent the allocated compensations unreasonably. Investigation is in progress in order to reveal and detain other members of the above mentioned organized group. Investigation is conducted by Gurjaani Police Division of Kakheti Regional Main Division by Article 332 1 part (abuse of official authority) of Criminal Code of Georgia that envisages up to three years of imprisonment.”

Judge Davit Narimanishvili at Gurjaani district court upheld the motion of the prosecutor’s office and sentenced Ortoidze and Dvali to pre-trial imprisonment and imposed fine of 5 000 lari on Besik Berukashvili. The judge clarified that accused people could hamper the investigation, particularly considering the fact that document on liquidation of the commission or suspension of its authority was not provided to the court. “Although Dvali and Ortoidze are accused of less grave crime, hundreds of witnesses shall be interrogated and different investigative procedures shall be conducted. There is an assumption that other facts also occurred and the accused people might hamper the investigation,” the judge clarified.

On May 14, 2013 law enforcement officers arrested one more commission member Zakaria Ruadze in Chumlaki village. Prosecutor’s Office requested to impose fine of 5 000 lari on him and the court upheld their motion.

Faked Protocols

 ICK got hold of several protocols on the impact of natural disaster; those protocols were faked.

One of them, Protocol N2–14–7321 was drown up on Chumlaki resident Tamaz Moseshvili. Based on the protocol, Tamaz Moseshvili received 11 760 lari as a compensation from the JSC Cartu Bank. Tamaz Moseshvili is on the list of victims – he is number 42 in the thirties transfer. In fact, Tamaz Moseshvili had not cultivated the mentioned plot for several years. Tamaz Moseshvili confirmed this fact in his testimony to the investigation. He said, instead the faked protocol and financial compensation, his son Gela Moseshvili gave 2 000 lari to the commission chair Ioram Ortoidze. Gela Moseshvili also confirmed this allegation in his statement.

One more faked protocol N2–14–67–74 was drawn up on Zurab Ganjelashvili, resident of Chumlaki village. According to this protocol, Ganjelashvili received 9 500 lari from the Foundation Cartu (N 442 transfer 3). According to the data from the Gurjaani district Registration Service of the Civil Registration National Agency, Zurab Ganjelashvili does not own a plot in Chumlaki village. We checked information in the village and found out that the plot which was mentioned in the protocol belongs to Zurab Ganjelashvili’s relative Tsiala Ganjelashvili. The latter had also received compensation for the same plot and it can be proved by the data published on the website of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure on April 16 (N337 Transfer 32nd). Besides, Tsiala Ganjelashvili confirmed with ICK that she really had received 7 500 lari as compensation.

According to the collected information, one more faked protocol N2-15-7893 was drawn up on Nino Gviniashvili from Chumlaki village. According to official information, Nino Gviniashvili received 11 760 lari from the Cartu Bank. The data published on the website of the MRDI on April 8 (N50 Transfer 30th) also confirm this fact. The plot mentioned in the protocol belongs to Nino Gviniashvili’s husband Besik Berukashvili. The latter was the commission member in Chumlaki village and had already received the compensation for the same plot – 13 800 lari (N 782 transfer 26th).

Besik Berukashvili: They might have arrested me for that shortcoming. There was some mistake, duplication. I returned the money back.

-Who ordered you to return the money?

-Nobody did.

-Did not you talk about this issue with the district governor?

-I met the governor and asked how I had to return the money.

-What did the governor tell you?

-Neither he knew how I could return the money and suggested to go to Tbilisi and find out it at the ministry.

-How did this mistake happen?

-I was interrogated about it and it is not necessary to speak about this issue in front of camera.

 

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Members of the Commission for the Evaluation of the Natural Disaster Impact are people equal to public servants. Since March of 2013 Giorgi Dvali has been head of social service at the Gurjaani district administration.

As mentioned above, the district administration was in charge to supervise the activities of the village working groups. Although four commission members were arrested, Gurjaani district governor claims he does not feel his political responsibility in it.

“Those people, who were commission members, where ordinary villagers. Do you want me to share the political responsibility because of the village residents? The commission was set up on December 13 and they became servants in March. So, you are asking me completely inadequate things,” Akaki Osiashvili told ICK on May 16, 2013.

 

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According to the district governor, before police launched investigation into the violations of the commission members, he called commission members from Chumlaki village and requested to return the money they had allocated on Nino Gviniashvili.

“Two weeks before the investigation was launched, I called them and asked to transfer the money back to the account of Cartu Bank.

-How did you know that the compensation was illegally allocated?

-I had received a lot of complaints from the population. I checked about seventy families in Velistsikhe and Vazisubani villages. I set up a commission under leadership of Giorgi Shekurishvili, who studied the received complaints. I used to check the received information with the MRDI and saw how the money was distributed. Then I called commission members and asked whether the person had a plot or not.

-Was Ortoidze also present at the meeting?

-Of course he was. I asked who Gviniashvili was, who had received 11 760 lari. Compensation was transferred to his wife too. I did not have right to interfere in the activities of the commission and I did not do it.

-Why did not you inform the prosecutor’s office about it? Did not you know that fabrication of the document and misappropriation of the money was criminal offense?

-I informed the MRDI and told that the money was illegally allocated; I asked them what I could do. They said the money was illegally issued and we had to return it back.

-Were you told that at the MRDI?

-Yes, I was.

-Who told you that?

-Why should I name concrete person; I was told.

-Why did not you report to the prosecutor’s office and police that crime was committed? You said the investigation had not yet launched at that time.

-The money was recovered and nobody was victimized.

 

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Giorgi Tsakadze, head of regional development department at the MRDI: “A person called at the ministry, more precisely Akaki Osiashvili and asked how people could return money back because they had illegally taken compensations. I told him if the money was incorrectly distributed and citizens wanted to recover it, they should do it. We had contacted the district administration on the same issue several times. It happened before the investigation started. Unfortunately, we did not discuss details. The governor did not tell us that the document was faked.”

Testimony of the Accused against District Governor

ICK got hold of the official testimonies of the accused Ioram Ortoidze to the investigation. In his May 8 statement, Ortoidze said:

“In December of 2012 my neighbor in the village Zakaria Ruadze told me a Natural Disaster Impact Estimating Commission was about to be set up and I was supposed to become its chair. I met Akaki Osiashvili in his working room and he said he needed me to occupy this position. Before elections Akaki Osiashvili had threatened me with firing my son from job because I supported United National Movement. So, I could not refuse him and accepted his proposal. Besides that, I did not want him to create problems for my son. (His son Giorgi Ortoidze worked for the MIA, author.)

Several days after the commission started working I noticed that protocols were illegally drawn up. I informed the district governor about it and warned that protocols would be faked. He said he represented the government in the district and there was no problem; he suggested me to continue working.

I do not remember exact date, Manana Chubinidze from Chumlaki met me and said she was impoverished, had no plots in Chumlaki and asked to draw up a faked protocol on her as if she owned a plot in the village. Since she was poor, I told commission members that Manana Chubinidze owned plots in Chumlaki, was victimized by the natural disaster so I drafted the protocol and signed it. She received the money.

As for Tamaz Moseshvili, I knew that he did not have peach trees and vine-yard but I promised him to register as a victim. In exchange of that, I asked Moseshvili to give half of the received compensation to me; then I drew up faked protocol. I told commission members that he owned plots and they signed it. His son Gela Moseshvili took the money at the Cartu Bank and gave 2 000 lari to me in the street.

As for Nino Gviniashvili’s case, when additional lists were prepared, we decided to draft protocol on Nino Gviniashvili where we wrote that she owned plots and was victimized by disaster. Nino Gviniashvili received the money. The family had promised to give me some bonus for it, but they did not.

I do not know how much time had passed since the money was transferred, when district governor called me, Zakaria Ruadze and Besik Berukashvili. He told the latter that we had to return the money we had illegally received. Beso promised him to return it. I had not received part of the money and they returned the money back.

Afterwards, Osiashvili called me and Berukashvili and told that Berukashvili had illegally received money on his wife’s name; the prosecutor’s office should not have learned about it. Akaki Osiashvili told me to change the figures but I refused because it was impossible.”

Relatives of the District Governor

 In the second interrogation protocol, which was dated by May 10, 2013, Ioram Ortoidze clarified:

“When main lists were created, Gurjaani district governor Akaki Osiashvili called me and said to draw up a protocol on Shota Ruadze, living in Chumlaki village, according to the date Ruadze would have dictated to me. I told Osiashvili that the father of Shota Ruadze had already received compensation for the plot we were going to mention in the new protocol. Akaki Osiashvili told me to prepare the protocol on Shota Ruadze’s name in order to assist him to get the compensation too. Since Akaki Osiashvili was my boss, and as I have already mentioned in my previous testimony, he had threatened me with sacking my son from job,I could not oppose him. According to Osiashvili’s instructions, I drafted protocol on Shota Ruadze where the latter asked me to write that he owned plots and was victimized by the natural disaster, though his father had already received compensation for the same plot.

During creation additional lists, Akaki Osiashvili again called me and said I had to draw up a protocol on Givi Osiashvili’s wife or son living in Chumlaki village; they were his relatives and wanted to assist them. I told that Givi had already received compensation for the plot the family owned but Akaki Osiashvili said he already knew about it but wanted to do favor for his relatives. I drafted the protocol but I do not remember whom I mentioned in it – son or wife. I wrote the figures which I was dictated during drawing up the protocol.”

Shota Ruadze, mentioned in Ortoidze’s testimony, is driver of the Gurjaani district governor Akaki Osiashvili. Order # 1852 on Ruadze’s employment as a driver was issued on December 18, 2012.  Besides that, ICK found out that Shota Ruadze is Osiashvili’s relative and live in one neighborhood in Chumlaki village.

Shota Ruadze told ICK that they were victimized as a result of natural disaster on July 19, 2012 and his father Givi Ruadze had received compensation – 2000 lari for that. “I had no connection with drawing up the protocol by the Commission for Estimating the Impact of Natural Disaster,” Shota Ruadze said. His father Givi Ruadze clarified that the hail had damaged the harvest in 2 hectares of land and received compensation was not adequate to the damage. Givi Ruadze said he requested to be in the additional list though the Commission refused. We could not get hold of the protocols drawn up on Shota and Givi Ruadzes. The investigation unit got part of documents from the Ministry; Gurjaani district administration states they did not store protocols in the office.

Akaki Osiashvili – “You are executing orders of the National Movement”

 “I know what you are doing now, you no longer have materials and Mr. Gela, you personally are executing the orders of Mr. Gviniashvili (former Kakheti regional governor currently MP from the minority), who had applied to Mr. Bidzina to fire me. If you had any evidence against me, you would have disclosed it many times.

-Based on which evidence do you claim that I am executing orders of Giorgi Gviniashvili?

-I did not interfere in the drawing up the compensation protocol on my name; why should I have called Ortoidze to assist Shota Ruadze and Givi Osiashvili?

-I am asking again; what is your argument to claim that I am executing the order of Giorgi Gviniashvili?

-I am going to send you the materials which prove that you and Gviniashvili publish the same text.

-What text do you mean?

-Your journalists have been visiting the villages for so many days and could not you find more facts?

-Can you prove that I, representative of the independent media, implement the instructions of the National Movement’s representative?

-Are you independent media? Your journalists are running in Chumlaki village, almost reached Kitaani and are looking for Osiashvilis everywhere. Can you tell me who ordered them to do it?

-Do you think that I have to receive instructions to work in this way?

-Gela, remember one thing, I have no problems and will never have them. You will never find problems on me. Do you understand me?

-When journalists are working actively, you think that they are definitely implementing somebody’s instructions?

-What else can I tell you? I am directly telling you that you are implementing the orders of the National Movement. You, Gviniashvili and Chiabareshvili too use one and the same text.

 

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Finally we would like to underline that many respondents avoided speaking about possible connection between the corruption facts and the district governor. Akaki Osiashvili is acting governor and people do not want to face problems because of interviews. Respondents said Akaki Osiashvili’s brother-in-law Lasha Martiashvili is member of Prime-Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s personal security service and he protects Osiashvili.

Sopo Mtivlishvili, Information Center of Kakheti 

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