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District Governors Spent Money from Reserve Funds without Discussing the Issue with of Municipality Boards

 Shorena Glonti, Guria

According to non- governmental organizations, the governors of Ozurgeti and Chokhatauri Districts breached the law and illegally spent 70 000 GEL from the reserve fund. Particularly, Ozurgeti district administration spent 50 000 GEL and Chokhatauri district administration spent 20 000 GEL.

According to the Article 14 of the Law on the Budget of Local Self-Government, district governor can use the reserve fund only under the resolution of municipality board.

In accordance to the resolution N 54 of the Ozurgeti district administration, issued on May 7, 2007, on Expenditure of Reserve Fund from Ozurgeti District Budget, district governor is entitled to make some changes in the reserve fund based on the decision of the municipality board. The decision is based on the conclusions of the budget-financial commission and commission for economical development, infrastructure and urbanization – the conclusion shall justify the funding of the events. If the delay can cause negative results, the district governor takes urgent decision on making changes into the reserve fund and within two weeks submits grounded information about the necessity of the expenditure to the municipality board.

Chairperson of the commission for economical development, infrastructure and urbanization Gela Gorbonidze said Ozurgeti district governor did not submit any justifications for the expenditure of reserve funds in 2009 as it was requested by the law.

The funds from the Reserve Fund were spent in 2009 for the following activities: “membership payment (European Unity),” “signboards,” “street-signs”, magazine “Facts and Regions of Georgia,” “reconstruction of privatization room,” “creation of website,” etc. 50 000 GEL was spent on the above-listed activities in 2009.

“The above-listed expenditures are impossible to belong to the Reserve Fund because they oppose the purpose of the fund. Creation of website or reconstruction of the privatization room cannot be natural disaster which requires urgent decision to spend money,” said economist Levan Chkhaidze from the non-governmental organization “Union for Democratic Development of Georgia.”

Ozurgeti district governor Avtandil Mekvabishvili said everything was correct and budget funds were spent reasonably. “Let them read the law carefully and see whether we have spent funds reasonably or not. Everything was done correctly and we hold audit conclusions on it. We have sent those conclusions to the Chamber of Control and it is estimated that the district administration has spent reserve fund and budget completely reasonably.”

Lasha Tavadze, head of Guria region office of the department for the expertise of local self-governmental protocols within the law making department of the Ministry of Justice, said Chokhatauri municipality board has not worked out the rule of the expenditure of the reserve fund in 2009.

Chokhatauri district governor Anton Khundadze said the municipality board has worked out the rule of the expenditure of reserve funds. “We have the rules for the expenditure of the reserve fund. The funds were not spent unreasonably from it,” said Khundadze.

Chokhatauri district deputy governor Gia Giorgadze thinks money from Reserve Fund was spent reasonably.

Chairperson of the Guria region office of Republic Party Tipo Mikatadze said it is blatant violation of the law and responsible people shall be punished for it. Municipality boards did not use their authority to approve and control the expenditure and district governors abused their rights.

Chkhaidze thinks the Article 14 of the Law of Georgia on the Budget of Local Self-governmental Agency was breached. It can be ground for the liability of local governmental officials from Ozurgeti and Chokhatauri district administrations.

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