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Teachers Trip to Mestia Covered by Local Government Budget

24.08.2012

Maka Malakmadze, Adjara

5000 lari from the Khelvachauri local government budget was spent for teachers’ trip to Mestia. Malkhaz Partenadze, chairmen of council, said that this is not connected to upcoming elections. The non-government sector says that this is attracting of voters.

LTD. Khelvachauri municipality announced at a cultural event they organized that Evrotrans won the electronic tender. There was only one participant in the tender and the allocated money, 5 000 lari, remained as final bid of tender. Winner LTD.  They took 80 teachers from Khelvachauri municipality building to Mestia and returned on the same route.  They covered all expenses such as overnight stays, food, and museum visit.

“I do not know if they were teachers or other officials. We won the tender and fulfilled our duty”,- said Malkhaz Turmanidze head of LTD Evrotransi to Humanrights.ge

Ketevan Devadze, member of the tender committee, said that the 80 teachers were selected across the district and all of them were successful.

Amalkhaz Partenadze, chairman of Khelvachauri municipality council, does not think it is unusual for the municipality budget money to be donated for the teachers’ trip. What does the election have to do with this situation? We have funded successful people across the district. Do not draw your attention to elections. It is not an unreasonable way to spend the budget. We encouraged them.”
It is important to mention that after the Khelvachauri municipality made their annoucement, Keda municipality, on August 20, also announced tender and a trip for public school teachers. (See: http://tenders.procurement.gov.ge/public/?go=63157&lang=ge). In this situation teachers are also going to Mestia but amount is 31.

One detail should be notied. The tender document does not contain information about the date and time and when the winning company should fulfill their duty. Ketevan Devadze, member of Khelvachauri tender commission and Head of LTD Evrotrans, could not name exact dates. We doubt that the trip took place on August 4, when the president visited Mestia.

Humanrights.ge contacted one of the teachers. She preferred to remain anonymous due to pressure. “I do not have information about the teacher’s trip to Mestia but I know that they were taken to Beshumi. They did not offer to include me because they know my political views.”

Jana Chikovani, lawyer of non-governmental organization Transparency International, considers covering teachers’ expenses from a budget to attract voters. The budget considers allocation of money for such projects. The fact that the budget considers money for this project is true and is supported by the legal system, but during the pre-election period it is considered bribery of voters. Money should not be spent during pre-election period on these kinds of projects. Schools are independent public institutions that have their own budgets and should not be provided with money for trips and cultural events by the local government. When this happens during the pre-election period, it is used to attract voters.

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