A lawmaker from the United National Movement (UNM) party and former chief prosecutor of Samegrelo region, Roland Akhalaia, has been summoned by the prosecutor’s office for questioning.
Chief prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili said on December 25, that prosecutors wanted to question MP Akhalaia in connection to investigations ongoing into several cases of unspecified alleged wrongdoings while Akhalaia served as chief prosecutor in Samegrelo region.
MP Akhalaia is third UNM lawmaker who has been summoned for questioning. The investigations service at the Ministry of Finance wanted to interrogate MP Davit Sakvarelidze in connection to Tbilisi municipality’s Rike deal and MP Paata Lezhava was summoned by prosecutors for questioning in connection to a probe into the case of beating of a man during the election campaign in the town of Vani.
None of them have appeared for questioning. The UNM said that to make the process transparent its lawmakers would only respond to investigators’ questions in a written form.
Law does not ban questioning of a lawmaker, but law enforcement agencies have no right to detain or to search MP and his or her office and vehicle without an approval from the Parliament.
“My personal opinion is that carrying out questioning in an open form is positive; I don’t see anything wrong to make questions, we want to ask, public; but the law does not envisage anything like this,” chief prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili told journalists on December 25.
MP Roland Akhalaia is a majoritarian lawmaker from Zugdidi single-mandate constituency in Samegrelo region, where he won the race against Georgian Dream candidate Irakli Alasania, who is now the defense minister.
Akhalaia is father of former defense and interior minister Bacho Akhalaia, who is now in pretrial detention facing several charges related to torture and illegal confinement and exceeding official powers. Akhalaia’s other son, Data, who was head of the interior ministry’s department for constitutional security, is wanted for allegedly beating up police officers several years ago.