TBILISI, DFWatch — President Mikheil Saakashvili has lost one of his two business jets. The new government has decided not to allow the president to use it anymore.
Alexandre Burchuladze, Deputy Defense Minister said in an interview with Rustavi 2 that the reason for the decision was a large deficit at the ministry.
Now the Gulfstream V jet worth USD 160 million which the defense ministry ordered a year and a half ago will be returned to the company it has been leased from.
“When feeding the army may be at risk, it wouldn’t be correct if the president owned a second plane,” he said, adding that a decision is already done to cancel the contract with the leasing company, because of the large expenses.
But the president claims that he only uses one plane, a Bombardier Challenger, and that the withdrawal of the Gulfstream won’t affect him.
“The situation hasn’t changed after the election, the president uses one plane, the other is for government, specifically for the Defense Ministry,” Manana Manjgaladze, spokesperson for Saakashvili said late on Wednesday.
Mr Saakashvili is frequently criticized for his lavish life style and for using an emergency fund to organize social events like concerts. In its 2013 budget, the Ivanishvili government cuts the financing for both the president’s administration and the president’s reserve fund.