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State Audit Office addresses President, Parliament, Gov’t

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 19
The staff of Georgia’s State Audit Office, an agency presenting findings to Parliament on the activities of government entities (and thus promoting their accountability to Parliament and the general public), has addressed Parliament, the President, the Government, as well as local and international organisations to ensure that all conditions for the proper functioning of the body remain intact and unaffected.

The audit agency's employees made the statement amid controversy and turmoil around the current head of the office, Lasha Tordia, who says he was physically assaulted by ex-Chief Prosecutor Otar Partskhaladze at the El Centro nightclub in central Tbilisi several days ago.

Tordia says that law enforcers are standing by Partskhaladze, who served as Chief Prosecutor in 2013, and claimed that “the Interior Ministry, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and the Financial Police are doing their utmost to protect this former official from any punishment” .

State Audit Office employees stated they were supporting Tordia in the situation and condemned any attempt to discredit the activities of the agency.

Tordia claims that the reason of the attack was the findings his office had against Partskhaladze, which reported about an illegal real estate deal between the former Chief Prosecutor and Tbilisi Mayor’s Office.

Both Tordia and Partskhaladze have already been questioned.

Tordia demands the release of the camera recordings, while Partskhaladze says there was a “minute meeting” and not an incident between him and Tordia.

Partskhaladze’s lawyers clam Tordia was under the influence of alcohol and aggressively addressed Partskhaladze in the club, after which he was dragged aside by Partskhaladze’s guard.

However, Tordia says he was beaten by several people, Partskhaladze among them, and he suffered minor head trauma.

Tordia has injures on his face to support his claim.

Partskhaladze’s lawyers, however, do not exclude the possibility that his trauma and the injuries were “self-inflicted.”

Late on May 17, Tordia announced his meeting with NGOs to discuss the incident.

The President, NGOs and the opposition have demanded an urgent investigation into the “alarming case.”

The United National Movement opposition claimed the investigation would be “one more test” for the Georgian Dream ruling team, as if the case is ignored it would another signal that the country is being run by former officials from the backstage.

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze from the ruling team also highlighted the importance of the timely investigation of the incident.