TBILISI, DFWatch–According to a new report, the Audit Office was biased in favor of the United National Movement (UNM) under the previous government.
The report by Transparency International Georgia (TIG), called Finances of Political Parties for the year 2012, highlights several trends, such as revenues of political parties. the revenues received by political parties in 2012 – except for August and September – were distributed as follows: six parties comprising the Georgian Dream electoral coalition received a total of GEL 4, 607,000; the United National Movement received GEL 13,434,000; the Christian-Democratic Movement received GEL 961,000, and the Labor Party received GEL 337,000. A considerable share of the revenues received by the political parties was in the form of state financing and donations.
Though donations from legal entities were forbidden by law the donors of political parties were not only individuals, but the persons who had certain connections with business.
In the report, which is part of the project Transparent and Accountable Political Finances in Georgia, TIG pays attention to the activities of State Audit Office that was established on July 1, 2012 and concluded that it was quite biased.
The office seized satellite dishes belonging to the TV company Maestro and fined Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was in opposition at the time but went on to become prime minister, for giving out the dishes.
“The State Audit Office activities amounted basically to political reprisal rather than monitoring the financing and expenditures of political parties. In several cases the State Audit Office had ignored the activities of the then ruling party,” the report says.
“The Chamber of Control had selective approach and was very strict toward oppositional parties,” said Eka Gigauri, head of TI. She added: “We think it is very important to create an unbiased Audit Office and recover its image.”
Lasha Tordia, general auditor at the Audit Office, said that in 2013, the agency will try to eliminate the defects, and it is very important for it to cooperate with the non-governmental sector.