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State Audit Service says that head of Georgian State electro system spent 29,000 on roaming

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Wednesday, October 9
State Audit Service of Georgia published a report on Georgian State Electrosystem’s (GSE) work in the years 2014-2017, according to which, the Rehabilitation Manager of the system at that time, Sulkhan Zumburidze has spent GEL 156,738 on mobile roaming in 2014-2017.

“According to the roaming expenses provided by the GSE, the total cost spent on the roaming service for 2014-2017 is GEL 227,199. Of these, 156,738 GEL (69%) was paid for the roaming service provided for Rehabilitation Manager. It should be noted that the Rehabilitation Manager has spent GEL 29.254 for roaming in the August of 2014, in only five days, which is a good example of unreasonable costs", reads in the audit report.

According to Zumburidze, he spent GEL 29,254 by accident while roaming when he was in office. He talked about it with the Business Media Georgia. “Probably everyone can imagine that even if a person is on the phone 24 hours a day, he won't be able to spend so much,” Zumburidze said, explaining that the money was spent because of technical issues at that time.

According to the document, the company CEO's salary was increasing by 10% annually. The Audit Office indicates that the salaries were being raised at a higher rate than its revenues. In 2017, the CEO’s salary was as much as GEL 252,481.

"In 2015 and 2016, the percentage increase in planned revenues of the electricity system compared to the plan of the previous year was 6.92% and 9.22%, while the salary fund growth - 13.42% and 10.60%,” says the report.

The Audit Office also indicates that the costs for the business trips were also "unreasonably high". As the document reads, “"in 2014-2017 the cost of traveling abroad by the representatives of the system amounted to GEL 1,674,957, of which GEL 279,837 was issued above the norms set by the Minister of Finance."

Another administrative flaw that the Audit Office identifies is a non-transparent salary system: “The company does not have a predetermined, differentiated salary system. The difference between the salaries of those who are working in the same position in some cases exceeds 100%. Existing practice fails to ensure transparency of the salary system and creates the possibility of unfair pay.”

Another direction that the Audit Office identifies is the so-called "Restaurant and gift costs."

“In 2014-2017 the representative costs are increased unreasonably by GEL 550,727. The planed representative costs for this period was only GEL 203,977. According to the changes added to the plan, the representative expenses were increased by GEL 550,727 and amounted to GEL 754,704, while in the same years GEL 1,421,679 was actually spent, which is GEL 666,975 more than it was officially planned,” reads the document.

The State Audit Office notes that, in addition to the above-mentioned governance practices, the GSE owed over half a billion debt to the State.

JSC Georgian State Electrosystem (GSE) is an electricity transmission system operator. The company owns and operates 3,350 km transmission lines and 90 substations all over the country. The transmission network is managed by the National Dispatch Center and its technical maintenance is provided by the 3 regional networks (East, West, and Kakheti). GSE also manages the cross-border transmission lines interconnecting with the neighboring countries: Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

GSE is a joint-stock company owned by Partnership Fund, a state-owned investment fund, while its management rights are transferred to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.