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What will be the follow-up of the scandalous conclusion of the State Audit Office?

26.11.2019

 

Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Gori Municipality Mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili did not take responsibility over the conclusion of the State Audit Office, which reports about the miscarriages in the infrastructural projects and unreasonable expenditure of budget funds in Gori and Gori municipality in 2017-2018. 

Tavzarashvili said that he was elected to be the Gori municipality mayor in the end of October, 2017. However, he took over his duty only in November 2017. Considering that, he cannot be responsible for 2017 violations. As for 2018, Tavzarashvili said, he had received grave heritage from the predecessor and one year was not enough to eradicate the miscarriages. 

“My predecessors could not finalize some projects and I had to finish them,” Tavzarashvili commented about the unfinished construction of the new kindergarten building in the Railway Station Settlement in Gori, for what Gori City Hall had allocated 91 000 GEL but it was impossible to construct it throughout two years. This kindergarten is one of the obvious examples of poorly implemented job and ineffective expenditure of budget funds according to the State Audit Report 2017-2018. 

“Responsible people in the city hall supposedly did not act in favor of the best interests of the municipality when working on the procurement of the kindergarten construction service. As a result, the municipality could not implement the project during two years and the population cannot use the infrastructure. As for the 91 000 GEL, it was unreasonable expenditure,” the 2017-2018 Audit Report on the program expenditures in Gori municipality reads; according to the report, the municipality administration did not study the causes of the problem and respective measures were not taken against responsible people to eliminate the loss. Namely, according to the audit report, the tender-winner company, who was constructing the kindergarten with poor quality and through violation of the contract timeframe, had the term expended twice for 102 days but still could not finalize the construction. The Gori City Hall terminated the contract with the company in 2018 and announced a new competition on the construction of the kindergarten; the construction is still underway.

The State Audit Office reported about another failed project of the Gori municipality administration, which was funded from Poland with 68 354 EURO. The project aimed to rehabilitate the building for the people with disabilities in Tiniskhidi village; however it was not realized because the Gori municipality city hall could not implement the project and spend the grant funds. It was caused by various problems. For example, as the Audit Report states, when signing the grant agreement the requirements of the Georgian legislation were violated because the municipality governor signed it on July 31, 2017 without having preliminary approval from the municipal assembly and the government. The procedures were conducted later – after the grant budget was already transferred to the municipality city hall. 
Member of the Republic Party Aleksandre Valiauri recalled that the grant from Poland was sacrificed to the political conflict between the local government leaders from different political parties, who hindered each other to implement the project and finally the local population was victimized. 

“Davit Oniashvili tried to implement the project and the assembly members hindered him to prepare relevant documentation and carry out procedures. As a result, the municipality was affected and we not only failed to use the grant funds, but had to return 10 000 GEL from the budget money to the donor that was unreasonable expenditure, abuse of power and professional negligence,” Valiauri said.

As a result of the Audit Report, instead receiving the profit of 200 000 GEL, the local budget and population was harmed, and 10.2 thousand GEL was spent to return the grant budget to the donor. 

The State Audit, as a result of the monitoring of 2017-2018 Gori municipality budget, reported about the risk-factors of winning the tenders only by one company. The companies associated with the MP Ioseb Makrakhidze from the ruling party and his family members – Ibolia and Shara were mentioned in the audit report. More precisely, according to the report, in 2017-2018, Gori municipality announced 33 competitions with total price of 18, 785. 2 thousand GEL on the construction of roads, rehabilitation and maintenance services. According to the report, survey of the tender process revealed that tender documentation contained various restrictive requirements for what one and the same applicants participated in the competitions and the applicants offering the lower price were disqualified. 

“There is a risk that the city hall conducted the tender process to meet the interests of the concrete applicant. As a result, the city hall lost opportunity to save budget funds,” the audit report reads.

Gela Kapanadze was the chairman of the gender commission in the Gori municipality city hall in the report years; at the same time he was first deputy of the mayor: “Unfortunately, according to the regulations there was no alternative company to win the tenders.”

Gori municipality mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili said they do not tailor the competition requirements for the companies associated with the majoritarian MP from the ruling party but admits that Makrakhidze’s company is a strong construction company and honestly implements all tender requirements. 

HRC Shida Kartli office lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili said that the concrete facts mentioned in the audit report must be followed by legal responsibility together with political responsibility of the respective officials.

“The audit report repeats all our remarks and complaints, which we, nongovernmental or media organizations raised many times. We detect the signs of corruption here. Together with political responsibility, concrete senior officials shall be held legally responsible for the violation. The prosecutor’s office and anti-corruption agency of the State Security Service shall study the case,” Aleksi Merebashvili said.

Representatives of the nongovernmental organization and opposition political parties state the results of the State Audit Report shall be legally responded. They said the prosecutor’s office and anti-corruption agency shall start investigation of the concrete violations. 

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