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New charges filed against former president

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 14
New charges were brought against Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili with regard to the Special State Protection Service’s case on August 13. Former head of the Special State Protection Service Temur Janashia was also charged in the case.

The Prosecutor’s Office is accusing Saakashvili and Janashia of misspending GEL 8.83 million (about USD 5.1 million) of public funds between September, 2009 and February, 2013.

The new charges against Saakashvili, who is already being charged with exceeding official power in two separate cases, read that the money allocated for the Special State Protection Service (SSPS) from the state budget was used for personal purposes. The Prosecutor’s Office web page gives detailed figures of the expenses, including those expenses that were allocated for the ex-President’s private masseuse and spa service for former high-ranking officials.

Under the previous government the documents were classified. However, under the new government the ban was removed.

Janashia denies the charges, stating that there was a decree that envisaged the spending of a certain amount of money for various visits and other expenses.

“I want to see evidence, testimonies and other materials. These were ordinary expenses made by the agency. I have not committed any violation,” Janashia states.

Member of the parliamentary minority Goka Gabashvili claims that every government in any country has such expenses, as state officials have to go abroad, attend meetings, stay in hotels and so on.

Fellow member of the UNM Irma Nadirashvili appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office to make the current officials’ expenses public as well.

Member of the Georgian Dream Eka Beselia called the figures alarming. According to her, the expenses exceed all limits and are related to personal pleasure in many cases.

“I address our foreign friends. When cases concern such large-scale spending of state money should we close our eyes on them and not investigate? “Beselia said.