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Public Defender Investigated the Case of Sequestered Property of Okruashvili

The Georgian Public Defender has opened an investigation the case concerning 137 sq. meters of land located on Giorgi Atoneli Street # 27; the building and property belongs to Irakli Okruashvili, former Defense Minster and ten others. The building is currently under the seal of the court sealed and police are guarding it. The public defender considers that security policemen do not have right to be inside the building and to prevent owners of the property from entering the building.

On October 6 2007 Mileri Kharebava, judge of the Criminal Collegium of the Tbilisi Civil Court made a resolution to seize the property of accused Irakli Okruashvili. However, the court did not check the document on the property (an extract from the Public Registry) and sealed up the property without knowing all the actual owners: Gela Maskidashvili, Davit Kekelishvili, Amiran Giguashvili, Vasil Makharashvili, Teimuraz Gogitidze, Ioseb Giguashvili, Levan Terashvili, Marlen Nadiradze, Mikheil Kareli and Nika Ramishvili.

The investigation revealed that even if the legality of the sealing up the property were not disputable, their rights have been breached by “Security Police Department.” The court sealed up property only for preventing the owners from selling the building. Consequently, nobody has right to prevent the owners to enjoy the sealed up property.

Georgian Criminal Procedural Code, Article 191 states that “Owner or the property holder shall not have the right to sell the property; but in the case of urgent need,  the owner shall not have right to use  the property either.”

On February 15 2008 representatives of the Public Defender’s Office examined the sealed up building on the place. Officers of the Security Police Department explained to them that they were ordered to protect the office that means they should not let anyone into the office; however despite the request they could not produce the document that could demonstrate their responsibility.

Resolution # 266 of the Minister of Internal Affairs, date by March 23 2005, defines the functions and responsibilities of the Security Police Department as a public legal entity. According to the Article 2, Paragraph I of the resolution “the Security Police Department is responsible for protecting the legal interests and property of owners from offenders.” According to the Paragraph III of the same article Security Police Department is enabled to carry out its responsibilities according to a completed contract. In accordance to the resolution and Georgian Law on “Public Legal Entity”, the security police are under the control of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Ministry has power to appoint the chairperson of the department and control the activities of its financial-economic department. Consequently, it is impossible that the Ministry of internal Affairs ordered the Security Police Department guard the building.

Thus, it is completely obscure as to under what authority or at the request of what person or organization that the security police was given the responsibility to protect the building.

It is also evident that owners of the property are prevented to enjoy the building because of illegal activities of the security policemen. In accordance to the Georgian Civil Code, Article 170 Paragraph I: “an owner shall have right to own and enjoy the property under the framework of the contract restriction; this right shall does not allow others to enjoy his/her property…”

The rights to property guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution Article 21 and European Convention on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, Article 1 additional pact I. More exactly, this is the stipulated right of private person to enjoy his or her property without restriction or limitation.

The Public Defender recommended the Zaza Gelashvili, head of the Security Police Department, to stop illegal guarding of the building and allow the owners to enjoy their property.

Public Defender considers that Georgian Criminal Code, Article 333 is breached and law enforcement bodies should start an investigation of the circumstances. Consequently, the Public Defender recommended the Prosecutor General;, Eka Tkeshelashvili to start a preliminary investigation against the officers of the Security Police Department for having abused their authority.

Article 333. Abusing one’s Power: 1. abusing of power by an official or similar person that resulted in breaching the right of a private or legal person, as well as the legal interests of the society or a state. The penalty for this shall be a fine or a term of imprisonment to three years; which is

Source: Public Defender’s Office

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