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New head of Audit Agency

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 11
Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze has presented Irakli Mekvabishvili, a banker of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), as the candidate for the head of the State Audit Agency.

The opposition says Mekvabishvili’s nomination, whose candidacy will be voted on in Parliament soon, was an “unexpected, pleasant surprise,” as some other people were being discussed for the role.

Mekvabishvili’s nomination came very shortly after the EBRD president’s visit to Georgia.

Mekvabishvili vowed he would make the State Audit Agency, a body which presents findings to the Parliament on the activities of the government entities, “more effective and transparent”.

A member of the United National Movement and former head of Georgia’s National Bank Roman Gotsiridze, stated that the nomination was an “unexpected pleasure” and the result of the “influence of foreign organizations and Georgia’s allies”.

Gotsiridze praised Mekvabishvili’s “many years of work for the EBRD” and his professionalism but stated the United National Movement would not vote for him in Parliament.

“One thing is professionalism but another, more important thing is how he will manage not to be influenced by the ruling party,” Gotsiridze said.

He stressed an auditor general had a “very big constitutional immunity” and a person in the role must know the privilege and the importance of this immunity.

Georgian media speculated that the Georgian Dream ruling party was considering current Tbilisi Mayor David Narmania, whose term will soon expire, for the position.

This notion caused a large-scale outcry amongst Georgia’s opposition and NGOs, who were strongly against Narmania’s appointment to the role, as he is a politician closely affiliated with the ruling party.

Mekvabishvili now needs at least 76 votes in the 150-member legislative body to occupy the post.

The ruling party has 116 MPs in Parliament.