TBILISI, DFWatch — A new survey shows that the State Audit Office committed many violations during the last year.
Representatives of Coalition For Freedom of Choice and an independent expert group have studied the work of the State Audit Office’s activities and presented their survey.
The study mainly dealt with freedom of the media and the fines that the audit agency imposed on Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of Georgian Dream coalition.
“The activities that the state audit system has done may be called criminal and this is substantiated by the survey. Those responsible should be convicted, this is in the interest of society,” Irakli Melashvili, representative of the coalition For Freedom of Choice said.
“It does not matter which party will be in government, none of the administrative bodies should interfere in the election and pre-election process. State Audit Office’s activities were criminal during the whole year,” he said.
Tamar Kordzaia, a member of the journalist ethics charter, says the most serious violation was Bidzina Ivanishvili’s case. He was fined for helping Elita Burji, a company affiliated with Georgian Dream, but the amount of money that Ivanishvili had to pay was not determined fairly.
Some legal entities were fined before their donation and even before some cash flow into their accounts.
According to the report, another type of violation was unequal fines for the same violation between different political parties.
After studying the issue, the authors of the survey concluded that the State Audit Office ignored the violations done by the ruling party, such as offering people free meals at restaurants.
Economic columnist Ramaz Sakvarelishvili said that the authority of the audit system and society’s trust in it is very low and the system should be overhauled.
A document will be sent to the parliament and prosecutor’s office for further investigation.
The authors of the report ask for those responsible to be held to account and that this should not exclude Levan Bejanishvili, the former head of the state audit service.
“We demand this not because we want revenge, but to show to the next government, that no violations will remain unpunished,” Irakli Melashvili said.
The State Audit Office, which earlier was called the Chamber of Control, is a body, which in late 2011 was empowered to track the financial activity of political subjects, as well as legal and individual bodies, in order to provide transparency in election campaign financing.
Tens of people were fined and deprived of their property, while legal persons were seized their accounts and property was put up for auction. The majority were supporters and members of Georgian Dream.
Recently, the National Enforcement Bureau, which enforced the fines, stated that some accusations were unfair and that the process has started to return deprived property and pay back unfair fines.