National Bureau of Enforcement closes in on opposition…again.
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 16The enforcement actions concerning Kakhi Kaladze’s case have been launched. Information concerning the issue was spread by the Georgian Dream lawyer, Shalva Tadumadze, on August 15 and was also confirmed by the National Bureau of Enforcement.
Leader of the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili and majoritarian candidate of the coalition, Kakhi Kaladze, were fined with millions of GEL through the decisions made by the civil and appellate courts. Kaladze was fined 17 million GEL and Ivanishvili more than 20 million GEL. The State Audit Agency claimed that the two individuals have withdrawn unusually large amounts of cash from their bank accounts without indicating its intended use.
The Agency has demanded that the two political figures return the money to their accounts. However, they have thus far declined. The agency has now appealed to the court. Both civil and appellate courts satisfied the demand of the State Audit Agency and fined Kaladze and Ivanishvili.
“This action violates the court decision which had given a 7 day term to Kaladze to pay the fine, or to decline to pay [the fine,]” Tadumadze said and emphasized that an additional GEL 1, 186, 147 fine was imposed on Kaladze.
The Enforcement Bureau confirms that enforcement actions have been launched concerning Kaladze. However, this action does not entail compulsory enforcement.
“The process will be forced after 7 days when the court term expires. As for imposing the enforcement fee, it is an ordinary procedure. As soon as the case comes to the Enforcement Bureau, it adds a 7% enforcement procedure fee,” the press service of the Bureau told IPN .
As the chairperson of Young Lawyer’s Association, Tamar Chugoshvili, told The Messenger that all recent actions carried out by the State Audit Agency against Kaladze and Ivanishvili are “absolutely illegal and can be taken as one of the most unjust actions the agency has initiated.”
Chugoshvili underscored that the State Audit Agency’s demands have no legal basis and practically no real evidence has been presented. Thus, according to Chugoshvili, the civil and appellate courts’ verdicts were far from just. She also emphasized that with its actions, the State Audit Service surpassed its purview of financial monitoring delegated by law. In the first place, in violation of legal standards and without the proper substantiation, the agency demanded the addressees to complete financial information and afterwards suggested that they undertake specific actions, which falls beyond its authority.
Chogoshvili explained that “it is noteworthy that the attempt to shift the burden of proof to natural persons is evident in the actions of the State Audit Service. This is a completely unacceptable precedent. The responsibility of the State Audit Service is to present a substantiated position by making reference to corresponding evidence. In light of the fact that a state agency with significant resources is unable to present the corresponding evidence, shifting the burden of proof to a natural person and obliging it to prove the lawfulness of its actions is unacceptable,” Chugoshvili stated, adding that carrying out enforcement actions and imposing additional fees prior to the 7 day expiration term (given by the court) is also illegal.