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Ugulava questions legality of arrest procedure

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 8
Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, takes current complicated situation at Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) with understanding. He believes that the Mayor’s office will collaborate with the new majority in the city council. However, Ugulava doubts that the arrests of the Tbilisi Mayor’s employees will be investigated in accordance with the law.

After the United National Movement (UNM) lost its majority in the Sakrebulo, there is speculation that it will be replaced by Georgian Dream coalition members.

“Replacement of one force with another is a healthy process in a democratic state. It is a sign of democracy, as well how adequately the former government takes their replacement. It makes no difference who forms the majority at Sakrebulo, we will collaborate with the new staff. I hope that we will find common language in solving important issues,” Ugulava suggested at the talk show Position on Friday.

The mayor was not confident over the recent arrests of several employees of the Mayor’s Office who had been detained for embezzlement and the misuse of budgetary money.

According to Ugulava, there are lots of questions concerning the fairness in this issue. However, the Appellate Court has not even considered the case for discussion.

“Of course there is serious pressure on the Appellate Court,” Ugulava said, adding that the only person who might express interest regarding the case is the Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani.

Ugulava responded to the constitutional changes and stated that there are attempts to fit the state constitution to PM Ivanishvili.

“Why didn't Ivanishvili reject French citizenship? He also has Georgian citizenship. The new state administration is trying to provide high-ranking officials like the Prime Minister, President and the Parliamentary Chairman double citizenship. If the initiative was condemned during the previous government, why is the Georgian Dream coalition trying to establish the norm?” Ugulava said.

Various NGOs and the Public Defender’s Office have stated that there were violations in the process of detention of the employees of Tbilisi Mayor’s Office. They appealed to the investigative bodies to study the cases in detail.

The Prime Minister stressed that the detention of those individuals was carried out at a bad time, when there was a NATO seminar in Georgia.

There are controversies on the issues ongoing at Sakrebulo as well. Representatives of the Georgian Dream and various opposition parties say that the UNM faction encouraged the misuse of funds for years. However, certain members of the UNM at the Sakrebulo still claim that their team members are under pressure to quit the faction.