The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Thursday, March 14
Britain's Top Diplomat Visits Georgia

Simon Fraser, head of the UK's Diplomatic Service and Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), visited Georgia on March 12-13 as part of his trip to three S. Caucasus countries.

Fraser met PM Bidzina Ivanishvili; Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze; Secretary of National Security Council Giga Bokeria and other officials, as well as civil society representatives.

“The country has much to be proud of, including last year’s peaceful and democratic transfer of power following the October parliamentary elections,” Fraser said ahead of his trip to Georgia, where he arrived after visiting Armenia.

British ambassador to Georgia, David Moran, said the visit by Britain’s top diplomat “is the latest demonstration of our commitment to strong relations with Georgia.” (Civil.Ge)

Regional governor and his deputy arrested for violations

The Anti-Corruption Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs detained Levan Lortkipanidze head of the local governance of Khelvachauri and his deputy Nodar Sharabidze. They are accused in the misuse of power and falsification during their service.

In particular, unfinished construction and repair works of kindergarten and the local culture club held in Tkhilnari and Tchalnari villages have been illegally designated as completed in terms. In the delivery-acceptance act, the detainees documented that repair and construction work was completed and transacted the full sum on the account of the company.

The defendants were interrogated early on Wednesday, but deputy governor Sharabidze was transferred to the hospital due to health problems. Lortkipadzeni, who is a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, took the office of the governor on December 31, 2012. (Rustavi 2)

Bidzina Ivanishvili decreases ministers’ salaries by 12%

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said salaries of cabinet of ministers will decrease by 12%. The PM’s press service informs that less money will be spent from the budget compared to the last year and the process will be transparent to the public. The government refuses the practice established by the former government, when the ministers wrote bonuses for themselves several times a month. Upon the PM’s decision, the ministers will receive GEL 6, 300 monthly; bonuses will be issued only once a year. (IPN)

GPB Employees create trade union

The initiative group of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) that has declared distrust to the GPB Board of Trustees, created a trade union to protect the labor contract of GPB employees. Members of the initiative group Dodo Shonava, David Arveladze and Tornike Katsitadze said on 12 March that they want to free the Public Broadcaster from political influence. Employees of the GPB who support reinstatement of Giorgi Baratashvili to the post of Director General are to join the Trade Union. Employees of the GPB once again call on all the applicants for the post of Director General not to submit applications to the given vacancy, as the GPB is in crisis situation. David Arveladze said that the GPB employees will start a promotional action by which they will declare distrust to the Board of Trustees. (Media.Ge)

Attorney visited ex-minister in prison

A lawyer visited Gldani N8 prison to meet with the ex-minister of defense and interior, Bacho Akhalaia. Attorney said Akhalaia does not complain about the conditions or health problems and is isolated from other convicts. The former minister was transferred to the Gldani N8 prison from Matrovos N9 jail due to the repair work ongoing at the building. His transfer seemed suspicious to the defense at first, but the penitentiary ministry explained that over three-hundred other inmates were also distributed to different prisons of Georgia due to the repair work. (Rustavi 2)

Governor freed of charges

Governor of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Region, Tengiz Gunava, had charges removed on illegal possession of arms and drugs under the motion presented to the court by the prosecutor’s office. As for the second episode in the charges against Gunava, which refers to the misuse of his duties and injuring a person intentionally, the charges remain in force and the court will hold a hearing on the case on March 26. (Rustavi 2)

“Georgian art is above politics”

Manager of the Erisioni folk music and dance ensemble Jemal Tchkuaseli, stressed that “Georgian art is above politics” following the return of the troupe from its Russian tour. Tchkuaseli told Palitra TV that the tour of Russia was a “triumph” for Erisioni. Law enforcement structures had been mobilized in the airport in case of a possible protest against Erisioni in the Moscow Kremlin on political grounds, although no controversy took place during the arrival of the ensemble. (Georgian News TV)