Agriculture Minister Quits After Arrests
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 May.'13 / 11:32

Agriculture Minister, Davit Kirvalidze, said he had asked to suspend him from office pending investigation into arrests of several officials from the ministry and its affiliated entities in connection to alleged case of misspending GEL 2.5 million of public funds.

"I have requested to suspend me from office, so I will resign before the truth is established," Kirvalidze said on May 2.

The Interior Ministry said late on May 1 that public funds were misspend while procuring tractors and other agriculture equipment as part of the state-funded program to help farmers to cultivate their agriculture lands.

Head of one of the units within the Agriculture Ministry; director of a state research center Agriculture Mechanization Institute; director of the state-owned Mechanizator company, which was in charge of procuring tractors, and two of his deputies were among those arrested, according to the Interior Ministry. The Interior Ministry also accused several of arrested persons of "pressuring" members of a group of experts, which was in charge of verifying procurement matters, in an attempt to cover up misspending of funds.

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