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Unlawful donations in favour of the United National Movement

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 23
NGO Transparency International Georgia (TI) commented on supposed illegal donations to the governing United National Movement (UNM) in two statements made recently.

TI cites Channel 9 documentary broadcast on August 19th– "National Donors and Blindfolded Themis". According to the documentary, 27 individuals who made donations to the UNM are registered in the socially vulnerable persons’ database and received 30 GEL in benefits every month. The abovementioned individuals have made 651,440 GEL worth in donations in total.

In addition seven individuals whose property was seized and sealed up by the government for supposed legal violations have donated 283,956 GEL to the UNM's election campaign

“These facts and others shown in the documentary suggest that there is a possibility that some of the donations are illegal which constitutes a violation of the Law on Political Unions of Citizens,” TI suggests.

In particular the following provisions may have been violated: Article 261(4) which provides that any conduct aiming to circumvent the requirements of the law is prohibited; and Article 27(6) which provides that making donations with the help of third persons or any other violation of the requirements established by law constitutes an administrative offence.

The organization has already requested that the State Audit Office begin an inquiry into the facts presented in the documentary and respond accordingly.

The second issue TI referred to is a recent statement made by Giga Nasaridze, head of the organization Georgia Does Not Sell.

According to Nasaridze his organization will make video clips free of charge to those political parties which share the organization’s views.

The TI statement also quotes Nasaridze that the United National Movement responded to the suggestion and that Georgia Does Not Sell have already delivered several video clips to the political party. The video clips in question have already been broadcast by several TV channels.

TI has emphasized that by doing this the United National Movement has violated the law.

“The organization Georgia Does Not Sell is a legal entity and a donation which is carried out by a legal entity to a political party is an illegal donation. Thus, the legal measures prescribed in the Law on Political Unions should be enforced in this situation -the UNM should be fined five times more than the price of the materials given by Georgia Does Not Sell.” the TI statement reads.