TBILISI, DFWatch–The State Audit Office says it found violations in the financial declaration of the Democratic Movement party, the leader of which is presidential candidate Nino Burjanadze.
According to the office, Burjanadze’s party recently started opening new branches in the regions, but didn’t register all of them, and the office often found out about their existence through the media.
“90 offices were discovered and confirmed by footage, out of which only 19 offices were declared,” the statement of the Audit Office reads. “Since we started the questioning and administrative processing, the number of registered offices increased to 72.”
Nino Burjanadze was Speaker of Parliament for several years in Shevardnadze’s government and early Saakashvili’s time in power, and later functioned as acting president twice. She left Saakashvili’s party in spring 2008 to join the opposition.
In a TV interview on Monday, Burjanadze blamed the Audit Office for only showing interest in her party’s financial activities.
The Office’s statement responds to the criticism saying that no candidate is above the law, so this accusation is baseless.
The State Audit Office, earlier known as the Chamber of Control, was given increased authority in the end of 2011, shortly after Bidzina Ivanishvili went into politics. The office was instructed to track the financial activities of political subjects as well as legal persons and everything related to a political subject, and in case of violations, issue fines.
The statement reads that five political parties have been fined so far in this election.
“The monitoring office is obliged to ensure financial transparency in political parties in order to prevent illegal usage of money in political processes,” it reads.
As an example, the office provides documentation that both the United National Movement and Georgian Dream coalition have fully declared information about their party branches in the regions.