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Corrupt public servants are targets for foreign intelligences

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 21
The head of Georgia’s State Security Service, Vakhtang Gomelauri, claims that corrupt public servants are potential targets of criminal groups and foreign intelligence services.

The official said this when presenting his annual report in Parliament late on April 19.

He stressed that the Anti-corruption Agency under his body launched investigations into 47 alleged cases of corruption from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2016.

“The fight against corruption has decisive importance for the state security. Corruption in public services results in a loss of trust amongst citizens, prevents the democratic development of the state and the proper functioning of its institutions. At the same time, corrupt public officials are potential targets of criminal groups and foreign intelligence services,” he said.

Gomelauri informed Parliament of 22 cases of bribe-taking, 2 cases of offering a bribe, 8 cases of fraud, 5 cases of commercial bribery, 4 cases of abuse of authority, 2 cases of misappropriation or embezzlement, 2 cases of negligence, etc.

Criminal charges were filed against 59 people.

The report then triggered a confrontation in the legislative body.

A verbal conflict took place between MPs Emzar Kvitsiani from the Alliance of Patriots and Giga Bokeria from the European Georgia opposition party.

The controversy was caused by the decision to close the hearing of the report.

Kvitsiani said it did not matter whether the hearing was open or not, as a “resident of the foreign country”, referring to Bokeria, the ex-Secretary of the State Security Council under the United National Movement government, was present.

This was followed by laughter from the opposition MPs and an offensive remark from Bokeria, which angered Kvitsiani. He threw a glass full of water at Bokeria and tried to approach him, but he was stopped by security officers.

Later, Kvitsiani apologized for the incident.

“Bokeria locked my sister in prison for several years. Is anybody surprised by my irritation? It was emotional, and I apologize for this to the people of Georgia. The perpetrators have not been punished in this country. I want to address the government – do not push people to revenge. Restore justice,” Kvitsiani said.

In a separate dispute between other MPs, another member of European Georgia, Otar Kakhidze, was affected, as he received an injury to his head, as he was allegedly hit by an ashtray.

Vice Parliament Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili condemned the confrontations and stressed that Parliament was drafting the code of ethics for lawmakers that would make all such incidents punishable.