Document signed by PM appears in so called cables case
By Ana Robakidze
Wednesday, April 22
Defence lawyers in the so-called “cable case” presented additional evidence to the court, which may result in the interrogation of the Prime Minister, Irkali Gharibashvili. The decree signed by the PM approves 5 million GEL to be allocated from the reserve fund for the project that should be carried out in the ministry of defence.
Yoseb Baratashvili, defence attorney, says former high-ranking officials detained by the prosecutor’s office cannot be involved in the trial as they were never related to the project and could not have misappropriated state funds.
According to Baratashvili, the decree signed by the PM is proof that a tender announced by the Ministry of Deference and later won by Silknet was an important state project and the ministry helped the government to avoid extra expenses.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office detained five officials of the Ministry of Defense on October 28, 2014. They stand accused of embezzlement of 4.102,872 GEL from the state budget. The prosecutor’s office became interested in one of the state projects which involved Silknet, a leading telecommunications company in Georgia.
The Chief Prosecutor’s Office claims former Defence Ministry officials, who are currently in pre-trial detention, arranged a sham tender in 2013 to have a fibre optic cable and networking equipment installed for a Silknet contract worth 6.7 million GEL contract with the Ministry of Defence, though the rendered services were worth only 2.6 million GEL.
The accused men are: Gizo Ghlonti, former Head of State Procurements Department, Ministry of Defence of Georgia; Nugzar Kaishauri, Head of Communications and Information Technologies Department, Joint Staff, Georgian Armed Forces; Giorgi Lobzhanidze, Head of the Unit at the State Procurements Department, Ministry of Defence of Georgia, Archil Alavidze – Chief Specialist at the State Procurements Department, Ministry of Defence of Georgia;
Davit Tsiphuria – Head of the Unit at the Communications and Information Technologies Department, Joint Staff, Georgian Armed Forces. will remain in pre-trial detention. The next pre-trial hearing is scheduled for April 27. The defending lawyers plan to present the decree signed by Gharibashvili, along with the other documents the attorneys have accumulated for the hearing.
The majority MP Zviad Dzidziguri states that the Prosecutor’s Office has a problem in terms of fair conduction of the tender.
“No one says that the project was less important, though there are question marks on how the Ministry conducted the tender over the project,” Dzidziguri says.