TBILISI, DFWatch–The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Georgia Friday detained the former chairman of the Constitutional Security Department (known as Kudi) of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, who is accused with organizing election fraud.
Temur Pataridze is charged with preparing fake IDs from 2008 to 2012 and illegally using them for election fraud in favor of the National Movement party and its candidates.
So-called swingdoor voting has always been a problem in Georgia. Non-governmental organizations and the opposition has frequently said that Mikheil Saakashvili’s party used this mechanism to conduct fraud. It works in the following way: fake IDs are prepared and then someone goes and votes using these IDs at different precincts. For this, non-existent people were registered on the voters’ lists.
The previous government denied that this was happening, but media and NGOs have reported about a number of such incidents in previous years.
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said a briefing Friday evening that Pataridze used the Kudi office in Adjara to prepare fake IDs. The ones who carried out the swingdoor voting were selected among employees of the Security Department.
The Interior Ministry claims that the Kudi employees were studying the election lists in detail to reveal politically passive citizens or those who had left Georgia years ago. Then they passed on this demographic data to Pataridze, who used it to prepare fake IDs, where there were inserted photos of Kudi employees.
“So there were prepared several IDs for one employee and these policemen voted several times at different precincts,” ministry spokesperson Nino Giorgobiani said.
Considering that about a thousand people worked at Kudi, several thousands of fake IDs were used for this kind of election fraud.