TBILISI, DFWatch – A new report by Transparency International Georgia shows that the State Audit Service (SAS) has is treating political parties unequally.

According to the report “Political Parties’ Finance – in 2011”, the SAS tends to be more interested in the names of financial contributors to other parties while to some extent neglecting the United National Movement.

“Last year we had unequal approaches. While the Audit Service immediately reacted to the appearance of Bidzina Ivansivhili on political stage by requesting the complete list of contributing people and companies, same interest exists for contributors of the National Movement but even though this information is also important for the society it has never been publicized. When you publish everything about one party and say nothing about the second one that creates a doubt about unequal approaches,” said Levan Natroshvili, one of the authors of the report.

Moreover, according to Natroshvili, things that should have been public were kept away from society.

“Let us take a list of addresses of contributing individuals as an example. We asked SAS to give us information about them and we received an answer, but it included the list of contributors to all parties except the National Movement,” said Natroshvili.

The study identified that parties are mainly funded by the government, the ruling National Movement party receiving 1.757 240 lari, the Christian Democrats getting 391 338 lari and the Labour Party led by Shalva Natelashvili receiving 391 338 lari. Usually, party membership fees only amounted to 5-10 percent of a party’s total income.

One of the findings in the report is that SAS financial declarations did not include detailed information about contributors. In some instances, different companies contributing financially to parties where owned by one person. For example, the case of Rezo Chakvashvili who contributed 150 000 lari to the National Movement is the owner of two companies, Gzamsheni 4 and Universali 93. The Republican party, the Conservative party and the People’s party also have several common contributors.

TI – Georgia has several recommendations to the State Audit Service. The organization says the SAS should not support selective justice by treating political parties unequally, as well as the information acquired by the service should be immediately public and should include details about spending as well as about the origins of contributed finances, thus increasing the level of financial transparency and accountability.