TBILISI, DFWatch – The party financing audit agency in Georgia is continuing not only going after the opposition, but might also fine the ruling party.
Kakha Baratashvili is head of Rustavi city council. Earlier this year, Transparency International Georgia reported that he distributed wine and sheep to the population for Easter, in a way that may be in breach of the rules.
Local pressure groups have said that the Easter gifts, which come in the midst of an election year, may fall under the law’s definition of political bribes.
After the election legislation was amended late in 2011, it is now prohibited for politicians to give gifts to voters. This may be understood as bribery, including giving away presents to people for free. The Chamber of Control is entitled to monitor political subjects and their money transfers and fine them in case of illegal transfers and abuse of powers or using legal persons for illegal financing for political purposes.
The Chamber released a statement Monday which says that the financial monitoring service, which was set up this year exactly for this purpose, studied the facts of an extensive distribution of gifts by members of the ruling National Movement party, which was reported by the media.
“This person gave presents to the population of Rustavi with his expenses and he personally organized the process.”
The Chamber defined this as a violation of the law on political unions of citizens. According to the statement, 7 920 lari was illegally used for campaign purposes. The CoC calls the person behind the Easter gifts a law offender and is preparing a court case in Tbilisi City Court.