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Ozurgeti Municipality Gave Away 2.5 Million Lari Property

09.09.2010

Shorena Glonti, Guria

By the request of Vera Kobalia’s department, Ozurgeti municipality board yielded the labored property to Socar Georgia Gas. As the economics expert, David Narmania states, the Chamber of Control should raise the responsibility of the head of the municipality board. According to the expert of local government, Otar Konjaria, the free yielding of the gas pipes belonging to Ozurgeti municipality ownership is unacceptable.

The Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development seized the two million lari property from the Ozurgeti Municipality. In the letter received from the Ministry of Economics, it’s indicated that #08/403-455 letter from the LLC Socar Georgia Gas was received by her department that raised the question according to #888 order of President issued on December 25th, 2008.

“Please, ensure the yielding of the property indicated in the annex of letter to the state,” – reads letter written to Ozurgeti municipality by Vera Kobalia’s department, signed by the deputy David Giorgadze.

Ozurgeti municipality board made a decision about yielding the property under its ownership to the state on September 1st: “According to the subparagraph B of paragraph 3 of article 43 of the Organic Law on Local Government, pursuant to the article 184 of the Civil Code of Georgia, the request presented in the letter of the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development was rendered and in order to improve the gas provision of the Ozurgeti municipality population, the property registered under the Ozurgeti Municipality ownership was yielded. The gas pipes were declared to be yielded to the state.

As the Minister of Economics David Narmania states, though the local government’s function is not the gas provision, no law states that they can’t owe property for such purposes.

“The municipality should not have made decision about yielding this property. By this decision, it lost the potential income for its budget and voters,” – stated Narmania.

According to him, the municipality should not have yielded such valuable property without the relevant compensation.

“When the Control Chamber checks the municipality, the responsibility of the head of the board will be raised,” – states an expert of Economics.

An expert in the local government matters Otar Konjaria states that according to the Organic Law of Georgia on Local Government and Georgian Law on the Property of Local Government Unit, the self-governing unit is authorized to make decisions regarding the managing of its property.

He thinks that the yielding of gas pipes belonging to Ozurgeti municipality ownership is unacceptable. By managing corresponding property (sell-out or transfer to one’s usage), the local government could obtain certain sum that could have been used for the population’s needs and improvement of services. The corresponding decision of the municipality board will reduce the income obtained from the “non-financial actives” difference.

“The argument presented by the municipality board that this decision was made in order to improve the gas provision of the Ozurgeti Municipality population is too weak. First, the gas provision of the population doesn’t belong to the authority of the self-governing organ (it’s the competence of the central government), and second – the municipality itself could transfer the ownership to LLC Socar Gas Georgia and increase its budget this way,” – stated Otar Konjaria.

The letter with the same content was sent to the Chokhatauri Municipality Board by the Ministry of Economics and Sustainable Development. But, as the head of the board, Anton Khundaze states, they are not hurrying to make a decision.

“We don’t want to do something that doesn’t fall into the frames of law. That’s why we are conducting consultations with experts and lawyers. After completing the consultations, we’ll make decisions best for people,” – stated Khundadze.
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