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Prosecutor’s Office to charge MP

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 17
The Chief-Prosecutor’s Office requested approval from the Parliament for initiating criminal proceedings and bringing charges against member of the Parliament of Georgia Roland Akhalaia on March 14.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the case is related to facts of exceeding official power by Roland Akhalaia in the capacity of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Prosecutor.

Specifically, according to the investigation conducted by the prosecution, in December 2009, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Prosecutor Roland Akhalaia met citizen Marina Esebua. He demanded from her the transfer of 150,000 GEL to the account of the non-existent Anaklia Development Fund, instead of concluding the plea bargain with the convicted Kakhaber Lataria (Esubua’s spouse).

“This sum was allegedly intended for charity reasons. To this end, Roland Akhalaia gave the bank requisites, which indeed belonged to the private company SANI, owned by a closely connected person to Roland Akhalaia. Roland Akhalaia acted with personal interest and obviously exceeded his official authority in the capacity of the regional prosecutor,” the investigation claims.

The Prosecutor’s Office states that Esebua was forced to accept the proposal and deposited 150,000 GEL in SANI’s bank account. The money was entirely used for the commercial purposes of this company.

“In December 2009, Roland Akhalaia illegally demanded 60,000 GEL from the family members of the accused persons in return of a plea bargain on the criminal case against Alexandre Tkebuchava, Zurab Khargelia and Davit Kachkachishvili.

Akhalaia claims that the money was legal and was targeted for the archbishop’s residence in the Samegrelo region.

Responding to the statement, the Georgian Patriarchate stated that Akhalaia himself expressed a wish to build such a residence in 2009. However, nothing has been done in this direction.

Member of the Georgia Dream Manana Kobakhidze states that Akhalaia is trying to hide behind the patriarchate and involve the Patriarchate in his illegal activities.

“Akhalaia’s statement reveals that he is ready to do anything to survive,” Kobakhidze states, noting that parliament membership should not be the guarantee that the MP will not be punished if he commits wrongdoing.

Members of the parliamentary minority take the fact as a pressure on political opponents.

Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili stressed in a written statement that the legal team of the parliament and a group of lawmakers have already launched discussions and the legislative body will give its response on March 17 about how the parliament plans to react.