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Alasania denies any violations in his ministry

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 3
Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania has made his first comment over the detention of his employees. The minister is sure in the innocence of the ministry staff and claims that the incident has damaged state security. He stressed that he plans his meetings with the prime minister, president and parliament speaker.

Alasania stressed that the most important thing in this affair is that all the questions must be answered and the investigation must be led in a transparent way. “I am sure in the complete innocence of my employees. It is natural that I was observing a procurement process in the MoD and I know that everything was done in full compliance with the law. Though, certain questions arose and they need to be answered. The whole Ministry of Defence personnel stand ready to cooperate with an ongoing investigation,” Alasania said.

The minister emphasized that he wanted to study all the details of the case. He stated that it was important that the detainees feel protected. “Unfortunately the signs and preconditions of the case have already appeared, as the investigation process is not open to the public,” Alasania said.

Alasania underscored that it is very important that the case not have a classified status, as the security of the country has been damaged by this fact. He stressed that the lift is crucial for the investigation to be led in an open and transparent way to identify the truth.

“Discussions must be held at the highest political level. I plan to meet with government members, the prime minister, president and relevant parliamentary committees. It is natural that when everything is over we will give their names to everything and those persons who misled society will assume responsibility for what they have done,” Alasania stressed.

Prime Minister Gharibashvili states that he has questions over the issue, as it is not an “ordinary case.” The PM also denied speculations as if the current developments regarding the ministry are caused by the announced gathering of Free Democrats party (Party established by Alasania) and Alasania’s possible return on the position of party chairperson. Gharibashvili stresses that based on his information the investigation over the case was launched 4-5 months ago, while the information regarding the Free Democrats assembly was aired a month ago.

Several days ago the Chief Prosecutor’s Office detained 5 officials of the Defense Ministry, accusing them of misspending 4,102,872 GEL of the state budget. Embassies of the United States and Switzerland to Georgia expressed their trust towards Minister Alasania and appealed to the government to carry out a very transparent investigation over the case.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze believes that the embassy statements, when even the investigation has not launched yet, means a “yellow card” to the government. “It means that the U.S. worries about the coalition’s future pro-west image,” analysts state, adding that the situation will damage the coalition.

Fellow analyst Vazha Beridze believes that Alasania is not an independent actor and he will do what his western friends recommend to him. The analyst also suggests that Alasania enjoys a high rating among the public, but he is a balanced politician. “However, if Republicans and Free Democrats decide to quit the coalition, Alasania might become the leader of the new entity,” Beridze says.