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Is the Chief Prosecutor’s office interested in Shashkin?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 11
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office is carrying out an investigation over the misuse of army fuel that occurred between the years 2005-2012. Dimitri Shashkin, the former defense minister, who has just returned to the country after being abroad, might be connected with the charges.

According to Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili, the related departments are investigating the financial and economic situation of 2005-2012 in the ministry of defense.

“Preliminary reports revealed a short-fall of several hundreds of millions in the Defense Ministry. Exact numbers are being ascertained through revision acts at the moment. The investigation will also reveal the responsible individuals for the violation,” Kvbilashvili said.

Additional statements were made by representatives of the Defense Ministry on March 9. According to them, on January 29, 2013, the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Investigation Division of Military Police Department began an investigation on the criminal case. The case referred to the misappropriation of the Defense Ministry’s property.

“Activists of the United National Movement during the election period illegally received 12, 315 liters of diesel and 11, 365 liters of petrol from law enforcement bodies. Due to the transfer, the Defense Ministry incurred a loss of 58, 536 GEL,” Defense Ministry representatives stated.

The Investigation intends to question several former officials concerning the issue. Among the questioned will presumably be former deputy head of United Staff, Giorgi Kalandadze and former Defense Minister Dimitri Shashkin.

Shashkin denied the accusations regarding the misappropriation of army fuel.

The former minister told Position talk-show that he considers himself innocent and the investigation undertaken by the military police into the facts of fuel embezzlement and misappropriation is nonsense.

“24 hours after my arrival, it turned out that my main fault was theft or misappropriation of fuel. The main mistake the former government made was that it did not answer all the questions. But now I am an ordinary citizen and there is a presumption of innocence. That means that I do not have to prove that I am not a fuel thief they have to prove that I committed a crime,” Shashkin said.

The Georgian civil sector also has questions concerning Shashkin. It is still unclear whether the investigation expresses interest concerning the issue or not. Shashkin, who spent nearly three years as the Minister of Education until taking the position of Defense Minister, is accused by several NGOs in the removal of hundreds of teachers from their jobs on political grounds.

Shashkin rejected these accusations also.