TBILISI, DFWatch–President Mikheil Saakashvili’s proposed amnesty for financial crimes has been rejected in parliament, as it failed to garner support in any of the parliamentary committees.
At the plenary session Wednesday it emerged that representatives from the governing Georgian Dream coalition do not support the president’s new initiative. Furthermore, no committees which have studied the bill supported it, and on top of that, government officials are also criticizing the proposal.
At the plenary session, MPs from Georgian Dream underlined that the amendments haven’t been discussed with the Finance, Justice and Economy Ministries, and neither have civil society representatives had a chance to provide input.
Lawmakers from the ruling coalition think Saakashvili’s initiative is tailor-made to suit the interests of businessmen who were close to officials in his government. Recently, there was exposed deals between the former government and businesspeople, which involved looking the other way with taxes in return for “contributions”, which according to some were used to finance the National Movement’s election campaign. If these cases were to be prosecuted today, it would have dire consequences not only for the ex-officials, but also for businesses which would be held to account for large tax arrears.
The bill would free businesspeople from liabilities that they have to the state.
MPs from the National Movement party argue that people should not be put in jail for financial or economic crimes. They can be given fines instead, they said. This would stimulate the Georgian economy and make it ‘more alive’.