Ministries Weekly Review. September 8 – 15, 2001

Ministry of State Security

Last week two employees of the Ministry of State Security have loudly declared existence of corruption within the Ministry. Gogi Jabauri and Sergo Jangveladze accused Minister Vakhtang Kutateladze and his deputies in corruption and smuggling.

Their discontent has been caused by the decree of the Security Minister some two months ago, by which all the employees of the Ministry have been prohibited from contacts with the journalists without permission from the supervising officials. Jabauri and Jangveladze consider this decree to be unconstitutional and contradicting with the freedom of speech, Universal Declaration of the Human Rights and European Convention of the Human Rights.

After Jabauri’s and Jangveladze’s protest, these two were lowered in their ranks and appointed as field officers. Press release of the Ministry states that this was due to their poor discipline. However Jabauri and Jangveladze connect their lowering with the protest against Minister and the deputies.

Ministry of Justice

Unidentified persons have entered the apartment of Justice Minister Mikheil Saakashvili on September 15th. Intruders did not take any valuables. As Police has confirmed, criminals have accessed files in the computer. As the Justice Ministry states, they were looking for certain information, however there were no important files in the PC.

Spouse of Justice Minister Sandra Rulova was the first to know about the intrusion. She was not able to unlock the door when she returned back in the evening because the door was locked from inside with the slide lock. She called Security Service of the Ministry of Justice. Mikheil Saakashvili has been attending a meeting of the experts of the Council of Europe in Greece those days. He had to shorten his visit and return back to Georgia earlier in connection with the accident.

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On September 11th Deputy Minister of Justice Irakli Okruashvili applied for resignation. He explained his decision a san act of protest against the Government. In particular, Okruashvili is discontented with functioning of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Chancellery.

Minister Mikheil Saakashvili has been attending an international conference on anti-corruption issues in Bulgaria on the day when Okruashvili applied for resignation. Directly from Bulgaria Saakashvili told his deputy that he would not approve his resignation.

After Minister’s return on September 13th, it has become officially known that Deputy Minister would remain on his post.

Ministry of Internal Affairs

Last week Internal Army units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have been activated in connection with the clashes between ethnic Greek and Svan population in Tsalka region, during which two were killed and one was injured. One person was murdered with firearms, while another one – with knife. 100 troops of the Internal Army were moved to Tsalka.

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On September 15th Spanish media has distributed information, that relatives of one of the two Spaniard businessmen, kidnapped in Georgia November of the last year has paid the ransom. The Ministry of Internal Affairs neither confirmed nor rejected this information.

According to El Mundo newspaper, brother of one of the kidnapped businessmen has paid a part of the ransom in Duisi village, Pankisi valley. Amount of paid ransom is unknown. The hostages will not be released until their families pay the ransom completely.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is strongly against of paying ransom to kidnappers.

Ministry of Defence

Last week Georgian armed forces received 10 “Iroquois” type helicopters, worth of 15 million dollars from the United States.

Russian news agencies doubted technical worthiness of these helicopters. Information agency ITAR-TASS says, that the United States practice tradition to present useless military equipment to the developing countries. Repair of such equipment is too expensive for these countries and they are unable to exploit the machines.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security Giorgi Baramidze rejected such information by the Russian sources, pledging that there is no possibility of presenting of useless military equipment to Georgia by the United States.

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Last week Defence Ministry has put Georgian armed forces on complete wartime alert in connection with the terrorist attacks in the United States. The Ministry offered the US side its help as well. As Deputy Defence Minister Gela Bezhuashvili has stated, Georgia should provide its military bases to the United States if necessary. However, there was no such request from the US.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On September 12th the Ministry has officially stated its position towards the terrorist attacks in the United States. “We condemn any demonstration of terrorism. We extend our sympathy and support to the people of the United States, US Government and President George W. Bush” – says the official address of the Ministry.

As of September 16, there are no reports on casualties among Georgian citizens, residing in the United States during the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. Georgian consulates have toughened visa regime. Foreign nationals are being denied to enter the country in case of even slightest suspicion. Facts of such denial have become frequent recently, said Kakha Sikharulidze, Director of the Department of Information and Public Relations of the Ministry.