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Prosecutor’s Office Vows To Study Gov’t Initiative on Writing off Debts

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 21
The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office claims that they will study the government initiative about writing off debts for 600,000 Georgian citizens, as NGOs had stated that the step could be related to bribing of voters ahead of the 28 November presidential election runoff.

“A relevant decision will be made after studying the issue,” the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria says that NGOs are “reliable organizations” and the case should be studied.

"I think this issue really needs to be studied. As you know, voter bribery implies any finances given by a particular political party, its representative or election entity to the voters. Consequently, I think that the initiative raises some questions.

“I do not have complete information on how these debts will be technically written off. If private individuals are involved in this initiative and they are in contact with a particular political party, then I think this case needs to be studied, including by the law enforcement agencies or the election administration," Lomjaria said.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze says that “part of NGOs” are directly affiliated with the United National Movement opposition and fulfill the demands of the previous state leadership.

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated on Monday that the bank debt of over 600,000 Georgian citizens, including those on a so-called ‘Black List’, will be written-off.

He claimed that the total money for debts amounting to 1,6 billion GEL would be covered by the Cartu foundation, the foundation owned by the head of the ruling party political council, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

However, the fund leadership announced that for the year Cartu has 100 million GEL budget.

The opposition says that the government is going to cheat people and gain votes for its endorsed independent presidential candidate Salome Zourabichvili in the presidential runoff on 28 November.

The government says that the initiative will concern those who took up to 2,000 GEL debt and could not pay it.