Georgian Prosecutor’s Office has requested the Parliament for permission to initiate criminal charges against UNM lawmaker Roland Akhalaia.
Prosecutors want to bring charges against Akhalaia, who is a majoritarian MP elected from Zugdidi constituency, under the clause of criminal code which deals with “exceeding official powers.”
Prosecutor’s office said on March 14 that while serving as chief prosecutor of Samegrelo region in 2009, Roland Akhalaia in two separate cases made relatives of accused persons to transfer on an account of a private firm GEL 150,000 in one case and GEL 60,000 in another in exchange of plea bargaining deals. Akhalaia denies accusation.
UNM MP Giorgi Gabashvili said that “political persecution” takes even more dangerous turn as elected lawmaker is now being targeted.
Roland Akhalaia is father of former defense minister Bacho Akhalaia, who remains behind bars since November, 2012; Bacho Akhalaia was acquitted in two trials and found guilty in the third one, but pardoned last year by then president Mikheil Saakashvili; several trials into some other charges against Bacho Akhalaia, who remains in pretrial detention, are still pending.
Meanwhile in a separate development also on March 14 Roland Akhalaia’s other son, former senior interior ministry official, Data Akhalaia, was found guilty by the Tbilisi City Court of exceeding official authority in a case related to beating of policemen in 2005 and sentenced to 3 years and 9 months in jail in absentia; Data Akhalaia remains at large.
Prosecutor’s Office said that it has no right to formally initiate criminal charges against MP Roland Akhalaia before it has no relevant permission from the Parliament as envisaged by a provision in the criminal procedure code.
But how this provision of the criminal procedure code should be delivered by the Parliament is not prescribed in a parliamentary regulation.
In this respect the parliamentary regulation only says that “only the chief prosecutor can file criminal charges against Member of Parliament, which should be immediately notified to the Parliament.”
The parliamentary regulation sets procedures on how to give consent only for a case when prosecution wants to either arrest a lawmaker or to search lawmaker and his or her property. The prosecution has not requested for these procedures in respect of MP Roland Akhalaia.
Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said in a written statement that legal team of Parliament and a group of lawmakers have already launched looking into legal aspects of the request and the legislative body will give its response on March 17 about how the Parliament plans to react on it.