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Chamber of Control explains reason for investigating Georgian Dream

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 13
Chairperson of the monitoring service of the Chamber of Control Natia Mogelidze explained the reason for why the structure extended its authority over Bidzina Ivanishvili’s public movement Georgian Dream and from where the Chamber of Control got their information on the financial activities of the movement. It appears however that the body’s claims are not convincing enough for certain Georgian NGOs which see a lack of clarity in the monitoring process.

“It has been explained several times that the law on political unions has no retroactive power in regards to sanctions. As for asking for financial information, we have the right to access such information from November 1, 2011, to November 1, 2012, as this period has been declared the tax year by law.” Mogelidze mentioned that the Chamber of Control got the financial information of Georgian Dream from National Bank of Georgia. “We received a refusal to our demand from Georgian Dream, there was an explanatory letter for the reason behind their refusal. It was not said that we could find such information on their webpage. Based on the agreement we signed with the National Bank, we got the information from the Bank.”

She underlined that Georgian Dream came under the sphere of interest of the Chamber of Control due to Ivanishvili’s open political statements and views. “Any organization which expresses such intent as that declared by Georgian Dream would come under our authority.”

In response to Mogelidze’s statements, Chairperson of the Young Lawyer’s Association Tamar Chugoshvili stated that the recent applying of new regulations automatically means usage of retroactive power. “The law on political unions went into force on December 29 and exactly from that period did the new restrictions and regulations come in to effect. If there is retroaction in the law it must be indicated otherwise its usage is unacceptable. If the Chamber of Control had demanded financial information from December 29 on the other hand, it would have been more logical.”

Chugoshvili also mentioned that there are too many obscure points in the law just like this one. The norm of prohibiting retroaction reads that the law might have retroaction if it sets, establishes or burdens responsibility. “Natia Mogelidze refers to the norm of prohibiting retroaction, however one cannot use retroaction if the law does not directly permit it for a concrete case that the law is to be retroactively used for. There are no such points in the law, thus demanding information from November 1 is wrong.”

Based on the changes in the law, the Chamber of Control took responsibility for the financial monitoring of political parties. One of the first reports they made was on the financial data of Georgian Dream, the public movement established by Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. That triggered a negative reaction from the opposition and a special demand from Georgian Dream to the Chamber of Control, for why the movement had to turn in information to be checked by the body. At the same time Georgian Dream claimed that they had published their financial activity on their webpage and getting such information was openly available for all interested parties.