TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili spent GEL 1,533,222 (USD 866,000) of public money on official visits during his last year in office.
According to the report published by Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) on Wednesday, the country as a whole spent GEL 1,857,452.22 (USD 1,048,105) on official visits in 2013, and 82 percent of this was spent by the ex-president.
IDFI claims that based on documents from hotels, the money was not spent in a rational way. There were a number of cases when it was possible to save money.
The report says that in 2013, members of the president’s administration were abroad 128 times. Saakashvili went abroad 41 times within 112 calendar days. Within 106 days, he used about USD 87,500 per day. Based on a decree that specifies how much may be spent per day, IDFI found that the ex-president exceeded the daily limit – USD 5,300 – by USD 82,200.
He spent USD 362,000 on hotels in 2013, among which USD 43,300 was spent in the US during his nine day visit there. He stayed at the most expensive room in the Hotel Peninsula New York, where he paid USD 3,500 per night. From April 28 to April 30, 2013, hotel expenses amounted USD 10,500. During the visit he returned to the same hotel on May 2 and paid USD 950 per night. During the whole stay in this hotel he paid USD 15,721.26 in total.
IDFI also published information about expensive visits to the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Austria and Greece. https://idfi.ge/ge/expenditures-for-official-visits-of-saakashvili
During the seven visits, hotel expenses were about USD 61,000; however Saakashvili additionally paid USD 39,000 for other expenses.
Mikheil Saakashvili left office in November 2013, after having served two terms as president. During the last year of his presidency, he shared power with a coalition government in what was called ‘cohabitation’. During all his time in office he often went abroad on visits.