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Free Democrats say Defense minister got lost in his statements

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 3
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office does not exclude the possibility of summoning former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania for interrogation over the prominent Cable Case related to the misspending of the budget money by five officials of the ministry when Alasania was a minister.

Deputy Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze stated that up to now there was no necessity of questioning Alasania, who now chairs the opposition Free Democrats.

“If there is such a need, we will not step back,” Shotadze stated, while dismissing the statements of the defense side, and the Free Democrats that the prosecution had no evidence in the case.

“We have good deal of evidence that the people were involved in corruption. They misspent more than four million GEL… that is not an insignificant amount of money in a country where many people have to live in poor economic conditions,” Shotadze said.

Alasania and the Free Democrats are claiming that the individuals were detained illegally, and the case is likely politically motivated.

Alasania states that the people appear to be victims of political motivations, the Georgian-French air-defense talks among them. The former official is going to hold a special briefing over the issue on April 3.

Alasania claims that the current Defense Minister Mindia Janelidze phoned him in the course of his French trip in November 2014, and asked him not to sign a memorandum on the purchase of the air-defense weapons with the French side.

Initially, Janelidze denied any phone calls, and the existence of the document at all.

However, on April 1, he said that he called Alasania and told him just to postpone the signing. He also said that the negotiations were successfully ongoing with the French side over the issue and appealed to Alasania to refrain from revealing the derails related to classified topics.

Responding to the statements, the Free Democrat’s MP and former Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic issues Alex Petriashvili, said that Janelidze was “lost in his statements” and said that someone holding such an important post should be more qualified.

Majority MP Manana Kobakhidze criticized the Free Democrats for their disrespectful statements to Janelidze, and requested that they wait for the court decision over the defense ministry employees.

The pre-trial hearing on the Cable Case was scheduled on April 1. However, due to technical problems, it was postponed until April15.