Gigi Ugulava, who was suspended from Tbilisi mayoral office by the court upon prosecution’s motion, said he will continue legal battle to achieve his reinstatement and if successful he will himself step down in order to demonstrate that he struggles not for the office, but for annulment of “harmful precedent” of removing directly elected mayor from office.
Ugulava’s lawyers have already said that they will appeal Tbilisi City Court’s ruling to the higher court.
“For me this struggle is not about the [mayoral] office; this is a matter of principle – no matter whether it is a mayor of Tbilisi, Adigeni, Telavi or any other town, no one should be able to suspend an elected [mayor] from office on a whim through such methods. So if I achieve it, I will myself file for suspending myself from the office and dedicate all my time to going to the trials to prove that charges against me are far-fetched,” Ugulava told Rustavi 2 TV on December 22.
“So I myself will do what the prosecution and the government want to achieve through twisting arms of the judiciary,” he added.
Charges, which were filed against Ugulava on December 18, involve allegations that he was behind a scheme through which GEL 48.18 million of municipal funds were funneled to cover UNM party’s various expenses in 2011-2012.
Ugulava is already standing trial into similar, but unrelated charges, which were filed against him in February 2013.
Ugulava, who is Tbilisi’s first directly elected mayor, took the office for a four-year term after winning elections in 2010.