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Opposition MP Fights Back after Accusations of Extortion

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, October 5
Dimitri Lortkipanidze, MP for Unity for Justice has accused the Speaker of Parliament, Davit Bakradze, of offending his professional reputation, dignity and honor at the Plenary Session on September 27. The statement made by Bakradze at the session followed Lortkipanidze’s speech where he discouraged Bakradze from meeting with Facebook friends on budget expenses. Lortkipanidze argued that “feasts with Bakradze’s friends will hardly assist development of parliamentarianism in our country.”

The answer of the speaker following this insulted Lortkipanidze. Bakradze made an allusion to corruption, noting a trend of “extorting money from prisoners’ families in return for some promises." Although Bakradze didn’t name the particular “extorter” he made this speech straight after Lortkipanidze’s “complaints.”

On Maestro TV, Pavle Kublashvili the Chairman of the Legal Issues Committee, approved of Bakradze’s words explaining that the speaker had not accused any particular person but simply discouraged extortion. According to Kublashvili he had heard about such “corrupt deals” only regarding Lortkipanidze who is also a member of the Pardon Commission - responsible for the early release of detainees.

Lortkipanidze confirmed that someone had been really trying to use his name to engage in extortion in 2010, “but I publicly addressed the General Prosecutor’s Office and they finally caught the criminal,” he told The Messenger asking officials for more carefulness. Worried about the moral damage from the entire story Lortkipanidze demanded explanations from Bakradze and Kublashvili and evidence whether they really had materials against any MP or not. By appealing against them at Tbilisi City Court today, Lortkipanidze demanded restoration of his moral damage with a symbolic GEL 1 fine. “This symbolic amount would better emphasize the moral importance of the complaint, not the financial benefit,” the MP told us.