State Audit Office (SAO), which is in charge of monitoring political parties’ finances, said on January 25 that it had found violations of funding rules by President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) during a campaign ahead of the October 1 parliamentary elections.
SAO, however, said that no further legal actions would be undertaken and no fines would be leveled against UNM because the violations fall under the amnesty act passed by the Parliament in December, which envisages relinquishing fines for cases of violation of party funding rules that took place before October, 2012.
SAO, which is chaired by former UNM lawmaker Lasha Tordia, launched the probe based on materials submitted to the state audit agency by the Prosecutor’s Office on January 8.
Prosecutor’s Office said in late December that it was investigating alleged misappropriation of large amount of state funds for UNM’s pre-election campaign purposes. The Prosecutor’s Office has claimed that during a day-long event involving campaign rallies in eleven towns across the country on September 8, 2013 UNM hired 393 minibuses to ferry supporters and the Interior Ministry allocated its thousands of liters of diesel fuel for those minibuses. In a separate case, the Prosecutor’s Office said, UNM received “covertly” GEL 120,000 for covering transportation expenses for a campaign rally in Zugdidi on September 23, 2012 from deputy Tbilisi mayor Davit Alavidze. It said that the cases were referred for further inquiry to the State Audit Office as they constituted to violation of party funding rules.
SAO said in a statement on January 25 that as a result of inquiry it found that in one case in September UNM received nonmonetary donation worth of GEL 126,900 in a form of fuel, which the party did not declared as required by the law and in another case UNM also failed to declare GEL 120,000.
The state audit agency also said that in the process of inquiry and as a result of witness interviews it had also found that UNM used various services with total worth of GEL 555,000, which the party did not declare.
UNM received total of GEL 20.8 million in monetary donations between January and November 2012, according to its filings to SAO.