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Notorious cable-case characters restored to their jobs

By Messenger Staff
Friday, August 14
The individuals who were charged in the so-called Cable Case related to the Ministry of Defence and the Silknet cable company have been allowed to return to their posts at the Defense Ministry.

The current Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli confirmed the information. Her predecessor Irakli Alasaania has stressed that it was a fair solution.

Five employees of the Defense Ministry - Nugzar Kaishauri, Gizo Glonti, David Tsipuria, Giorgi Lobjanidze and Archil Talakvadze are no longer under supervision.

They were detained in October 2014 and charged with squandering more than 4 million GEL from the state budget. However, they were later released on bail.

At the time of their arrest, former Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania was in France, holding negotiations over the purchase of air-defence weapons.

On returning to Georgia, Alasania stressed that his employees were innocent and the process was aimed at hindering Georgia’s attempts to join NATO and the EU.

For making the statement concerning the threats over Georgia’s foreign orientation, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili dismissed Alasania.

In response, Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats quit the Georgian Dream coalition and moved to the opposition. Two other ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjkidze, who is Alasania’s sister-in-law and Alex Petriashvili, Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, who is Alasania’s team member also resigned in protest.

Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili told The Messenger then that the arrest of Defence Ministry employees was most likely due to a campaign against Irakli Alasania and was caused by an important solution Alasania managed to achieve with the French side over empowering country’s defence capacities.

In his exclusive interview for The Messenger, Alasania stated that the processes were provoked by Georgia’s former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who was the real decision-maker, as he disliked his independent moves.

“Ivanishvili is also against Georgia’s fast integration to NATO. As it appears he was also holding some hidden negotiations with Russia which we had no information about,” He told us.

As the Prosecution had failed to reveal evidence why the Defence Ministry individuals should have remained in custody, the court released the people on bail.

Commenting on the issue on social networking sites, several individuals have said that the people should not have been restored to their jobs until the final solution of the court.

The current Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli explained that the individuals have never been dismissed from their jobs and they just could not continue their activities as they were in custody.

“Since the court decided to release them on bail, it means that their freedom does not imply any threat to the state security, as they had not been dismissed from their jobs; now they can continue their work. It is not the competence of the Ministry to specify who is guilty or not, it is up to the court and we are always in service of court supremacy,” Khidasheli said.

“The Defence Minister made the right decision and I sincerely welcome it,” Petriashvili said.

"These innocent people spent eight months in prison. All who were alleging that these people stole millions of GEL must share political responsibility. I hope all five of them will be offered an apology and will be compensated for their moral and material losses,” Petriashvili added.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze stated that it was quite difficult to explain the real motive of the current Defence Ministry decision without having inside information.

“But no matter what caused the solution: inside coalition confrontations, Khidasheli’s wish to promote justice, through the aim to deprive Alasania of the level in his election campaign, or with the government’s intention to recognize and improve its own mistakes, I believe that the solution is a victory of both sides: on the one hand the government that managed to recognize the truth and try to improve mistakes and on the other, Alasania, who managed to prove his truth,” Lagazidze said.

If the court’s final solution reads that the people were really innocent it would be one more signal that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office does not work as it should.

Such cases cause serious question marks over its competence, and those people, who make similar solutions, should also be held accountable.

Such issues also stress the importance of a system reform of the body, cleaning it from unqualified or politicized staff and transforming the Prosecutor’s Office into a totally independent structure.