Tengiz Gunava, governor of Samegrelo region in western Georgia, was arrested in courtroom on July 12 after the Tbilisi City Court found him guilty of embezzlement while serving as head of the Interior Ministry’s internal investigations unit in 2012.
Gunava, who pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to four years in jail. His lawyer said that the verdict will be appealed to higher court.
The guilty verdict against Gunava was delivered in connection with two separate cases, involving embezzlement of 3,000 liters of petroleum and GEL 49,500.
At the time when President Saakashvili appointed Gunava as governor of Samegrelo region in January, 2013, the latter was already facing criminal charges.
Apart of embezzlement, Gunava was also facing charges of exceeding official powers with use of firearm; he was accused of inflicting light bodily injuries to his driver when he served as chief of police of the Samegrelo region in March, 2012.
The Tbilisi City Court acquitted Gunava of these latter charges.
Gunava came into public attention in mid-November, 2012 when he was arrested on charges related to illegal possession of arms and drug. Gunava, whom the court at the time released on bail, said charges were fabricated and accused the police of planting weapon; in late December the Interior Ministry said it sacked five of its employees in connection to Gunava’s arrest.
Later in November 2012, Gunava was again arrested and charged with embezzlement ; at the time Gunava was again released on bail.