Court of Appeals upheld on December 26 a decision by the Tbilisi City Court suspending Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava, from office upon request from prosecutors, who have filed charges against him in connection with alleged misspending of GEL 48.18 million of public funds.
Like the lower court, the Court of Appeals too delivered its ruling without hearing oral arguments of the parties. Decision on suspending Tbilisi mayor from the office was appealed by Ugulava’s lawyers.
In a separate decision, the Court of Appeals also upheld Tbilisi City Court’s ruling ordering GEL 50,000 bail for Ugulava. In its motion the prosecution was asking for pre-trial detention of Ugulava, but the motion was turned down by the Tbilisi City Court and prosecutors took the motion to the Appeal Court.
“I wonder how they are going to enforce it,” Gigi Ugulava wrote on his Facebook page after the ruling by the Court of Appeals was made.
Ugulava’s defense team argues there is no legal mechanism envisaged by the law that would provide for enforcement of such a decision, involving removal of directly elected mayor of the capital city from office.
“I will keep on legal battle in the Constitutional Court. Tbilisites, wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Tbilisi ‘mayor’ Gigi Ugulava,” says the post on Ugulava’s Facebook page.
Ugulava said on December 22 that 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.