TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s parliament speaker says the detention of five defense ministry officials accused of corruption has seriously harmed the country’s defense ability, even if the charges turn out to be false.
Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Thursday told journalist that if the charges turn out to be true, then someone should be held politically responsible for it. But if the charges are false, then those who launched the case must be held responsible. Either way, this case has ‘seriously harmed’ the country’s defense ability, armed forces and military, Usupashvili said.
Several officials in the Defense Ministry and member’s of Georgia’s Joint Staff have volunteered to stand bail for five ministry employees who were detained on Tuesday and charged with appropriation and embezzlement of more than four million lari of the state’s money.
The officials said through their lawyer GIorgi Samushia that if the court lets the five detainee go free of pre-trial detention, they won’t run away but cooperate with the investigation. The officials who stand bail are three deputy defense ministers and two deputies of the head of the joint staff.
The pre-trial hearing is closed and the case still has status as top secret despite a request by the Defense Ministry to lift the classified status. Defense lawyers have asked for no pre-trial detention for the detainees. The Prosecutor’s Office did not make any comments before the hearing.
Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze meanwhile said that Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, who is currently abroad on a working visit, will not resign in any case. She said Alasania is a quite successful minister, one of the most successful ministers in Georgia.
Alasania has not yet commented. He is expected to make first his comments about the case when he returns to Georgia on Saturday.