Foreign Ministry Responds to Corruption Allegations

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the allegations of corruption voiced in the recent financial audit report of the State Audit Office.

According to the State Audit Office, in August 2017, GEL 737,000 was allocated to the Foreign Ministry from the government’s reserve fund for conducting geological assessment and reconstruction planning of one of its buildings located on Leonidze Street in downtown Tbilisi.

For fulfilling the works, the Ministry signed a contract without announcing a procurement tender with the company registered a day earlier – Land Mark Project Ltd, where Avtandil Makharoblishvili, the brother of Deputy Foreign Minister Vakhtang Makharoblishvili owns 100% of shares.

The State Audit Office said the company hired by the Foreign Ministry did not perform the tasks properly, and eventually, the state-owned Municipal Development Fund, which is carrying out the construction and renovation works of the building, failed to use the assessments developed by the company.

The State Audit Office added that the case was submitted to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office for further investigation.

Foreign Ministry’s response

Deputy FM Vakhtang Makharoblishvili denied his involvement in the procurement process. “I am not entitled with such functions at the Foreign Ministry and I have not participated in the process at all; Moreover, I have no information about this case,” Makharoblishvili said.

Zviad Gonadze, another Deputy Foreign Minister, said the contract was signed with the company that had “highly skilled and experienced professionals.” He also noted that the company fulfilled all of its contract obligations, which “was confirmed by the respective conclusion issued by the National Forensics Bureau.”

“As for the family ties of our colleague with the company founders … the field that I am in charge of has never been within Vakhtang Makharoblishvili’s competences and therefore, he could not have influenced the process,” the Deputy Minister added.

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