The state audit agency, Chamber of Control, which also monitors political finances, seized bank accounts of a newly established charity fund, Komagi, which has been warned earlier that its planned activities would possibly breach election-related legislation.
The new foundation declared earlier this week that it would aim at providing assistance, including financial, to “the victims of political repressions” in Georgia; the foundation became associated with Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream opposition coalition, although Komagi has denied having links with any political party. The state audit agency, as well as a group of election watchdog organizations, has warned the foundation that because of its perceived affiliation with the political force, its activities, including offering free services and financial assistance to citizens, might constitute violation of law.
The state audit agency said in a statement on Friday that EUR 90,000 was transferred “from abroad” on the account of the Komagi foundation on May 17 by Bidzina Giorgobiani, who is described in the statement as “foreign relations secretary of the Conservative Party of Georgia” – the party is now a member of Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream opposition coalition.
“This transaction, similar to the foundation’s activities… is notable with its political nature and comes in conflict with the existing legislation”, the Chamber of Control said.
“The monitoring service [at the Chamber of Control] has decided to make use of powers granted by the legislation and seize accounts of Komagi Foundation in order to observe legislation on political funding,” the state audit agency said.
Bidzina Giorgobiani was head of the forestry department before he fled to Germany in March, 2005, citing persecution from the authorities; Giorgobiani accused Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili of fabricating a criminal case against him after, as he claimed, he uncovered a scheme through which top-level Interior Ministry officials were involved in the illegal timber trade. In January, 2007 the Tbilisi City Court sentenced Giorgobiani to 6 years imprisonment in absentia for misuse of office while serving as head of the forestry department in 2004-2005.
Giorgobiani told the Georgian daily, Rezonansi, that he quit the Conservative Party in September, 2011 and was not representing any political party any more.