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The Bonuses for Officials in Shida Kartli Region

Saba Tsitsilashvili, Gori

One month later we finally got information how much money is spent from the state budget for the bonuses of the officials in Shida Kartli Regional Administration. Journalistic investigation found out that, public officials got huge bonuses, among them are people who do not go to work or they go but nobody knows what they do.

Kuparadze phoned, but Chinchilakashvili did not resolute it

We applied to the person responsible for the public information at the regional administration on October 20, 2009; we requested public information about the expenditure on bonuses and business leaves. Five days later we found out that regional administration was not going to spread information because of a simple reason: we had not written the address of our editorial office in out appeal on the information and they could not discuss the document because of this shortcoming. The administration informed us that we could correct the mistake within the five days.

We corrected the mistake and sent letter on October 27 again. After that we called the public information officer several times about the requested information, but he promised all the time we would get the information by mail.

One morning we reminded Zurab Lomidze, the head of regional administration in front of the regional administration that our application was not answered. He answered that they sent us the letter by mail long time ago. After that, we asked his colleague Lela Jakeli to issue permit on us to get up to the third floor and we went upstairs. Zurab Lomidze was not in the room. We requested Lela Jakeli to show us the copy of the letter, which they had sent to us. She told us that answer was not ready yet, because Zurab Chinchilakashvili did not sign the letter and we could not get the answer until he signed it.

As we found out, Zurab Lomidze had lied to us. Lela Jakeli said the answer was still in the administration building; it was still on the table of Giorgi Tsabadse, the lawyer of their department and was waiting for the signature of Chinchilakashvili. At that time we found out that the deputy regional governor Zurab Chinchilakashvili was in Germany. At the same time, we began to search the reason of his visit in Germany… However, let us first finish the issue of bonuses.

Monthly bonus for the regional governor, who did not go to work in summer

Finally, Giorgi Avaliani, the second deputy regional governor answered our letter one month and 10 days later on December 11, 2009. Do not forget that on December 10 each year every governmental agency has to inform the president and the head of parliament how transparent and compliant to the Administrative Code their activities are. It is unknown for me yet if Lado Vardzelashvili informed the president and the head of parliament how late they were to reply to our letter. We requested the copies of the report, which the regional administration is going to release before January 10 together with other information.

Lado Vardseashvili presented report of his activities in the hall of the Theological Seminary in Gori on December 15. Diplomatic corps attended the meeting. Vardzelashvili gave presents to the ambassadors. He spent budget sums for those presents and it cost 7 000 GEL.

Giorgi Avaliani, vice-regional governor reported to us on December 11, and it exaggerated all our expectation. According to his information, Shida Kartli governor gets bonus every month which is equal to his salary. Thus Vardzelashvili gets double salary every month.

According to the resolution #151 of the president, the salaries of regional governors and personnel of the regional administration are regulated by the law.

For example, the monthly salary of Lado Vardzelashvili is 2 950 GEL, but every month his bonus is 2 950 GEL. Lado Vardzelashvili receives salary of 5 900 GEL every month in 2009. His salary for 2009 made 35 400 GEL and bonus 35 400 GEL. In total the regional governor received 70 800 GEL from the state budget both as salaries and bonuses. By the way, it does not include the expenses for mobile phone, petrol and so-called other office expenses envisaged in the budget. Gori Office of the Human Rights Centre calculates those expenses separately.

Local newspaper “Kartlis Khma” wrote in summer that Vardzelashvili did not go to the office. Wife of just-married regional governor, former “Miss Georgia” Irina Onashvili said in her interview with the magazine and she was in Turkey on holiday together with her fiancé in summer. Lado Vardzelashvili did not go to the office in summer and it is proved by the articles published in local printed media: “Holiday for Governmental Officials and Poverty for Population”. In autumn, the regional governor did not return to the office soon and a new article was published: “Endless Holidays of the Regional Governor.” People complained about absence of the governor all the time. In one article we promised people to appoint meeting with the regional governor as an ordinary citizen. However, secretary of Vardzelashvili did not register us in the list because he was not in the office – “I will write your name in the list after he comes.” But we could not estimate when he was going to come to the office.

“Oppressed” Vice Regional Governors

Unlike Lado Vardzelashvili other employees of the regional administration are much intimidated. They cannot get bonuses every month. However, they receive bonuses once in several months. Employees of the regional administration received bonuses in March, June, August, and October and supposedly they will get in December too. Although the information about the bonus for December is not confirmed yet, the regional administration is waiting for it before New Year.

Deputy regional governor Zurab Chinchilakashvili, like other employees of the administration, could not get bonuses every month but only four times throughout 2009. The amount of the bonus was equal to his monthly salary – 2 360 GEL. Late in November Chinchilakashvili did not appear in Gori thus he took salary of 10 months that made total 23 600 GEL. In addition to that, he took 4 bonuses (2 360X4) that is 9 440 GEL. Consequently, Zurab Chinchilakashvili received 33 040 GEL from state budget in 2009.

Next in the list is vide-regional governor Badri Nanetashvili, who was fired from the parliament and resigned from the position of vice-regional governor several times. In parallel to it, he is owner of local TV-Company “Trialeti”. Nanetashvili has 110 GEL less salary than Chinchilakashvili and gets the same amount of bonus as well. Monthly salary of Nanetashvili is 2 250. He will take the fifth bonus in December for 2009. If we calculate Nanetashvili took 27 000 GEL as a salary in 2009 and five bonuses make 11 250 GEL. In total, 38 250 GEL was spent on him in 2009.

Vice-regional governor Badri Nanetashvili has not visited office this year at all. Reliable source of information at the regional administration informed us that he had written resignation letter several times but Vardzelashvili did not satisfy his request. Current head of news room at TV-Company “Trialeti” Lado Bichashvili also reported about it to the news agency “Pirveli.” Anyway the regional governor did not satisfy Nanetashvili’s request. It is not officially reported why all these letters were filed and then not resoluted. However, the Human Rights Center has information that Nanetashvili was threatening the regional governor with resignation letters because if he had resigned from the position, the TV-Company “Trialeti” would not have served the local government.

We got in touch with Badri Nanetashvili several times on this topic but he categorically banned us to call on his service number. Quite a large sum is allocated from the Gori district budget for the printed media and TV-Company – it is about 40 000 GEL. One part of this sum is spent on the newspaper “Lomchabuki” and another one on the TV-Company “Trialeti’.

In December, Gori district budget discovered that they had extra money and allocated 2 000 GEL on the TV-Company “Trialeti”. Head of Culture Department Guram Papuashvili said that the sum is paid for the TV-items ordered by the local government for the New Year. Thus, after Lado Vardzelashvili, Badri Nanetashvili and his TV-Company get more profit from the local government.

The Human Rights Center and journalists of the regional newspapers have protested the fact of discharging the regional TV-companies from budget debts. In near future we will appeal to the Shida Kartli regional prosecutor’s office to study the legality of the salaries and bonuses paid to Badri Nanetashvili because he does not go to work at all.

Another vice-regional governor Giorgi Avaliani gets the same amount of salary and bonuses as Badri Nanetashvili. However, it might be changed in December if Chinchilakashvili does not return to the office. Giorgi Avaliani’s income from the budget is the following: salary – 27 000 GEL and bonus – 11 250 GEL that make 28 250 GEL in total.

The Others

Income of the head of regional administration Zurab Lomidze is very interesting as well. His monthly salary is 1 180 GEL. However, what he actually does at the administration is not clear. Whenever we sent letter to him, they replied to our question several months later. Zurab Lomidze is a responsible person for the public information at the regional administration.

Zurab Lomidze’s income a year is the following: salary makes 14 160 GEL and bonus is 5 000 GEL. As a rule, he had to take 18 160 GEL in 2009 but according to our information in July, instead 1 000 GEL Zurab Lomidze received bonus of 1 460 GEL thus in total he received 19 620 GEL from the state budget in 2009.

The incomes of the other governmental officials are the following: Malkhaz Miruashvili, head of supervision department of the local self-government has salary of 1 180 GEL and it makes 14 160 GEL a year; in addition to that his bonus made 6 070 GEL and finally he received 20 230 GEL in 2009.

Head of Culture Department Mamuka Mamukashvili received salary of 14 160 GEL a year and bonus of 6 070 GEL a year. In total he received 20 230 GEL in 2009 before December.

Head of regional department – Gaioz Makhniashvili: his monthly salary is 1 180 GEL and 14 160 GEL a year; his bonus made 6 070 GEL a year and finally he received 20 230 GEL before December.

We noticed similar tendency about the heads of various departments – they get higher bonuses than their monthly salaries are.

Davit Abuladze once worked on the position of Malkhaz Maruashvili. Apparently, he worked before April and managed to take salary of 1 460 GEL a month and it made 4 380 GEL including March. In addition to that he received a bonus and finally it made 5 840 GEL.

We did not consider it was necessary to list other officials too. In total, 108 450 GEL was spent on the salaries and bonuses of the employees of the regional administration in 2009.

We also calculated the total amount of the sum spent on the salaries of the personnel at the regional administration. Chapter 5 of the Law of Georgia on State Budget regulates the expenditure of the budget for the salaries of the personnel of the regional administration. In accordance to the data of 2009, 570 000 GEL was envisaged in the district budget for the Shida Kartli regional administration; when Misha Kareli was the governor the budget was only 378 200 GEL. After he resigned, in 2008 the budget for the regional administration was 496 000 GEL. In 2009, Lado Vardzelashvili’s administration received 570 000 GEL for the salaries of the personnel. Bonuses – that made 108 450 GEL – does not go into 570 000 GEL as well as the 10 000 GEL envisaged for other expenses of the administration.

In total, we can calculate the salaries, bonuses and office expenses and they made (570 000 + 108 450 + 10 000) 688 450 GEL.

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