Shalva Tadumadze, a candidate for the Supreme Court judge, was heard in parliament.
Hearing of the General Prosecutor of Georgia in parliament
By Tsotne Pataraia
Thursday, October 10
On October 9, the Judiciary Committee of Georgian parliament held a hearing of Shalva Tadumadze, current General Prosecutor and the 8th candidate for the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The main issue of the hearing turned out to be Tadumadze's university diploma. The subject of this discussion had already attracted the attention of a wide audience after Tadumadze’s appointment as a General Prosecutor of Georgia.
“Transparency International” has conducted an inquiry about the biography of the acting General Prosecutor that says that he enrolled in Institute 1993, but the educational institution itself was founded in 1994. According to Tadumadze's biography, he received his law degree at the Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanities University. Tadumadze states in his biography that he graduated from the university in 1999, while his diploma indicates 1998 to be the last year of his studies. Moreover, General Prosecutor graduated from high school in May 1994, so it is unclear how he could enroll in a university in 1993. Also, “Transparency International” noted that public agencies had not provided information on Tadumadze's higher education for months.
Mamuka Mdinaradze, the chairman of the “Georgian Dream” (ruling party) faction in Parliament, inquired how the General Prosecutor, a candidate for the Supreme Court, Shalva Tadumadze was awarded the 1998 Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute diploma while the school was named after Dumbadze only in 2003. The answer to this question remains unclear. According to Tadumadze, he graduated from the school in 1994 and enrolled in Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute that same year. Following a law passed in 1997, any student had the opportunity to complete any course in the form of an internship and "naturally took advantage of that opportunity."
"I applied to the institute wishing to complete the above mentioned course in the form of an internship, and after undergoing appropriate procedures, I took a special exam in 1998, passed the diploma," said Tadumadze.
Giga Bokeria, MP from opposition party “Europen Georgia”, asked Shalva Tadumadze to name three of his course-mates and professors of the university he had graduated from, to dispel existing doubts:
“Because this story (diploma) has become such a big issue, could you answer my friend, colleague Levan Samushia's question and name three course-mates or lecturers of yours?” asked Bokeria.
Tadumadze responded that he could but he did not want to: ”I can name 10 of them, I will not name them as I do not have the proper permission to say their names and surnames from this podium,” Shalva Tadumadze answered.
Another MP, Levan Koberidze has touched upon “the diploma”. Answering him, Tadumadze expressed his complaint about the exaggeration of this issue, adding that he was involved in programs funded by the NGO “Open Society Georgia Foundation” as a "highly paid" lawyer and that his diploma was then not a barrier to cooperation.
“Open Society Georgia Foundation” responded to Tadumadze in a statement published by the NGO. They point out that the General Prosecutor has never been in any sort of official relations with the organization:
“We would like to emphasize that Shalva Tadumadze has never had any employment or other direct employment contracts with the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Accordingly, he would never have to submit a diploma to the fund,” reads the statement.
However, “Open Society Georgia Foundation” does not exclude the possibility of having indirect business relations with Supreme Court nominee:
“Of the hundreds of projects funded by the Foundation for 25 years in Georgia, Shalva Tadumadze may have been involved in the implementation of any project. In such a case, the Foundation never solicits the diplomas of the people involved in the project and trusts the submitted professional resume,” NGO declares in the statement.
Shalva Tadumadze is considered to be very close to the head of the ruling party “Georgian Dream” Bidzina Ivanishvili. In 2011-2012 he was Ivanishvili's lawyer, and after the “Georgian Dream” came to power in 2012, he became parliamentary secretary of the government and then the head of government administration. He has held the position of General Prosecutor since 2018 and is currently nominated to become a lifelong judge of the Supreme Court.