TBILISI, DFWatch – An opposition lawmaker accuses the government of having spent 219 million lari and trying to hide it by creative budgeting.

Jondi Bagaturia of the Georgian Group party, who is part of the Unity for Justice bloc in parliament, said this at a plenary session Thursday to review the country’s 2011 budget.

The 2011 budget is being expanded by 219 million lari compared to the original plan, to 7 570 million lari.

Such an increase at the end of the year has raised suspicion in opposition quarters.

As Bagaturia sees it, if the government has an extra 219 million, then the pension raise should start from January 1, instead of in September, at least by five lari.

“You say that you have 219 million lari. Then increase the pension from January 1. But I have a suspicion that this money is already spent, and now you want to legalize it. Our faction will not support such a legalization of illegal spending,” Bagaturia told the ruling majority.

Basic pension in Georgia is 100 lari per month. The government vows to increase it from September, but has not yet specified how much it will be increased.

Finance minister Dimitri Gvindadze claimed the 219 million lari increase stems from an unexpected rise in tax revenues due to increased economic growth.