TBILISI, DFWatch–Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Tuesday returned clothes to the government in Georgia, after being charged with inappropriate spending while in office.
A few days ago, the Prosecutor’s Office charged Saakashvili with embezzlement, and detailed eight million lari of expenses he is said to have taken from the budget of the security force SSPS and used for his personal purposes, including purchase of expensive clothes.
This was the third set of charges against Saakashvili, and his party’s spokespersons again reiterated their view that this is political persecution. In this latest case, both they and Saakashvili avoided commenting on whether the spending was indeed taken from the SSPS budget – the reason for the charge – but focused instead on the content of the spending, arguing that such expenses are commonplace for any president.
One of the items listed in the charges was various clothes. “GEL 49 499 were paid for 7 (seven) jackets and 1 (one) sport cashmere coat purchased for M. Saakashvili in Great Britain,” the office’s statement read. http://pog.gov.ge/eng/news?info_id=528
On Tuesday, Saakashvili sent his coat and jackets to the government office, with a note attached which said: “I am returning them back to use on your discretion.”
The government first wanted to return the jackets to Saakashvili, but they were instead temporarily sealed at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
There was a disagreement at the government office when Lana Ghvinjilia, spokesperson for Saakashvili’s Presidential Library, wasn’t allowed by SSPS deputy head Nukri Loladze to leave the coats at the office. The police was called.
“It is not allowed to bring such items at the government office and leave these rags here. This is not a rag shop. This is a government office,” Loladze underlined.