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Defense Ministry staff policy raises questions

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, February 12
Two officials of the Ministry of Defense quit their posts on February 10. One of them is Valerian Zumbadze, who has been accused of committing crimes under the United National Movement government by former political prisoner and military expert Vakhtang Maisaia.

Zumbadze had just been promoted as Deputy General Inspector of the Defense Ministry. After being blamed in his involvement in several notorious cases, among them the Photographers’ case and the Lapamkuri Special operation, Zumbadze made the decision to leave the ministry in order to avoid discrediting the body. He claims that it was a black PR against him and intends to sue those who are trying to slander him.

Another official who also retired was Deputy Head of the Military Police Robert Grigalashvili, who quit the post based on his own will.

Former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania states that the current developments in the ministry have raised several question marks. He stresses that several employees of the ministry have been dismissed recently.

“Some of them enjoy an excellent Western education and actively participated in carrying out the reforms that were approved by NATO. Firing such staff will not benefit our NATO integration,” Alasania said, noting that there were signs of people being dismissed on account of their friendly attitude towards him.

The Free Democrats have already appealed to the Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee to invite the ministry officials to parliament.

“We have questions with regard to the staff policy of the ministry and are interested in why the Georgian-NATO substantive package implementation process has been lengthened,” member of Free Democrats Irakli Chikovani said.

The appeal was accepted by the Head of Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee Irakli Sesiashvili.

Sesiashvili informed that either the minister or his deputies and General Staff representatives would come to parliament. A date has not been set.

“There are questions and the questions should be answered,” Sesiashvili said. Concerning Zumbadze, Sesiashvili explained that it was a sensitive issue.

“Zumbadze made a logical solution. Of course cases should be investigated. However, on the other hand, we should care about the reputation of people,” Sesiashvili said.