TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition and his partner, a former AC Milan player, are ready to give more money to the state to assist people who suffered losses due to a hailstorm on July 19.
The storm seriously damaged villages in eastern Georgia. Some people are left without a house.
Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, already paid about USD 49 million in order to help these people. He was handed an administrative fine, accused of having violated the law by using his companies to give favors to Georgian Dream. The businessman considered the fine illegal and was not going to pay, but after the storm he decided to give the same amount of money to the state, because he doesn’t have any other legal way of helping the population. That might have been considered bribery of voters.
Georgian Dream spokesperson Maia Panjikidze said Monday that the government has done nothing to start giving people compensation. She says none from the population in these villages have received compensation, even though Bidzina Ivanisvhvili gave 80 million lari to the state for this purpose, money paid into an account designated for paying the slightly smaller fine.
She says if the government considers that the money is not enough to compensate people, Kakhi Kaladze and Bidzina Ivanishvili are ready to reconsider the issue of paying their most recent fines, which they have denied so far.
“We categorically demand that the government explains why they do not give compensations, which belong to these people. Why this process is dragging out, despite that there are enough means in state coffers. If the government considers that there is not enough money to fully compensate the population, Bidzina Ivanishvili and Kakhi Kaladze, which are again fined, will review this issue once again and may add even more money to the 80 million lari. The main thing is to fully compensate the population in Kakheti.”
Tbilisi City Court fined Kakhi Kaladze USD 10.3 million and Bidzina Ivanisvhili USD 12.3 million in cases that were brought by the State Audit Office. They were accused of withdrawing large amounts of money from their own accounts without specifying the purpose, but there is no law prohibiting such an action.