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Public activists and MPs claim responsibility for detained MoD officials

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, December 26
Public activists and MPs, 37 in all, say they can claim responsibility for five detained employees of the Defense Ministry accused of misspending budgetary funds. The MPs include representatives of the Free Democrats, Republican Party and National Forum.

Lawyers of former officials of the Ministry of Defense have stated that they would address to the court to change the preventive measure regarding the individuals in the near future.

Lawyer Lasha Samushia stated that barristers on the defense side have concluded studying the case materials sent by the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office stresses that the individuals were arrested legally, based on the evidence provided.

According to Samushia there is no evidence that the people committed the crime. “There are no legal grounds for keeping them in pre-trial detention,” Samushia said.

The Prosecutor’ Office of Georgia detained Defense Ministry high officials on charges of embezzling 4.102,872 GEL from the state budget on October 28, 2014.

Among the detainees are former head of the Defense Ministry's Procurement Department; Head of Joint Staff of Armed Forces Communications and Information Technology Department; Head of Defense Ministry’s State Procurement Department; Chief specialist of Defense Ministry's State Procurement Department and Chief of Subdivision of the Joint Staff of Armed Forces’ Communications and Information Technology Department.

The case concerned a cable system purchase from the Silknet Company. Later, some other employees of the ministry were arrested for a mass food poisoning case in 2013. Following the developments, then Defence Minister Irakli Alasania stated that the situation seemed to be a deliberate attack on the ministry that might put the country’s western orientation at risk.

Owing to the claims made in terms of Georgia’s foreign course, the prime minister fired Alasania.

Alasania, who chairs the opposition Free Democrats Party, currently is sure that his employees are innocent and he has warned the government and the Prosecutor’s Office to appropriately investigate the case.

He stressed that he would have informed the international community over the case.

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani stated that the case is of high importance and the Chief Prosecutor should take full responsibility for fair and transparent investigation.