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NGO accuses Ministry of Culture in possible corruption

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, May 9
Transparency International (TI) Georgia has claimed that there are conflicts between public institutions working in the culture sphere and possible corruption deals in the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia.

TI prepared a 40-page report on the business interests of officials from Ministry and alleged issues of corruption.

According to the organization, after the appointment of the Minister of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia Mikheil Giorgadze in 2014, the ministry has spent over 2, 421, 743 GEL on organisations allegedly affiliated with the Minister.

According to the authors of the report, Giorgadze and other high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Culture had direct contract without a tender with 10 organizations and companies and actively funding them.

“The money was allocated for holding different concerts and festivals. In total, in 2015 the Ministry of Culture has allocated 4, 762, 767 GEL. 29 % of this money was going straight to the companies related to officials,” reads the statement.

According to TI, based on their research, the NGO has some recommendations to make financing procedures more transparent.

“The Ministry of Culture must create an affective mechanism to prevent conflicts of interest within the commissions. All the procedures must be transparent. Creating such a platform will decrease the risk of corruption and will give all the companies equal chances for winning the tenders,” reads the statement.

Giorgadze responded to the allegations mentioned in the research recently published by TI.

Giorgadze described the allegation as being an attempt to discredit the government.

“I have answered all the questions over this issue. However, the rumors do not stop. In order to shed light on all these issues, I would like to call on the authorities to explore all of these issues and to put an end to this topic,” stated Giorgadze.