Watchdog on Georgian Dream Majoritarian Candidates’ Donations, Business Activities

A new study, presented by Transparency International Georgia, that looked into Georgian Dream majoritarian candidates’ political donations, business activities and asset declarations, found that 19 out of 30 GD majoritarian contenders are involved in various entrepreneurial activities, overall being connected to 186 different companies.

The report, published by local watchdog on September 11, revealed that during 2012-20, 14 out of the 30 candidates have personally made donations to the ruling party, a sum of which amounts to GEL 740,826 (USD 239,000). TI Georgia noted, however, that a larger amount of donations to the Georgian Dream come from the said candidates’ business partners and family members, which totaled GEL 3,702,806 (USD 1,195,000) since the GD came to power in 2012.

The study also highlighted the participation of the GD majoritarian hopefuls’ companies in public procurement and privatization, as well as the candidates’ asset declarations, covering the period from 2012 to August 20, 2020.

The watchdog named the largest donors among the majoritarian MP candidates, including their family members and business partners:

  • Gocha Enukidze – GEL 1,254,000 (USD 405,000) – Running in  Ambrolauri, Oni Tsageri, Lentekhi and Mestia district. 
  • Zaal Dugladze – GEL 990,000 (USD 319,000) – Running in Khashuri and Kareli district. 
  • Irakli Khakhubia – GEL 458,000 (USD 148,000) – Running in Poti, Khobi and Senaki district.
  • Davit Songhulashvili – GEL 340,000 (USD 110,000) – Running in Gurjaani, Sagarejo Dedoplistskaro and Sighnaghi single-seat district.
  • Bezhan Tsakadze – GEL 320,000 (USD 103,000) – Running in the Tkibuli, Zestaponi and Baghdati district. 

According to the watchdog, Companies tied to eight candidates also have a history of public procurement in 2012-20, receiving GEL 4,364,109 (USD 1,408,000) through public tenders – GEL 623,450 (USD 201,000) and procurements – GEL 3,740,659 (USD 1,207,000). In 2013-20, six current majoritarian candidates or their companies have also participated in privatization, buying real estate for GEL 758,300 (USD 245,000) and shares in state-owned enterprises for GEL 2,210,000 (USD 713,000).

TI Georgia noted that 6 out of the 30 candidates are not conducting any business activities and have also not made political donations, these are Sozar Subari, Nodar Turdzeladze, Davit Sergeenko, Shalva Kereselidze, Zaur Dargali and Nino Latsabidze. 

TI Georgia also named GD candidates that have previously made donations to the United National Movement: Beka Odisharia, Davit Songhulashvili, Gocha Enukidze, Zaal Dugladze, Irakli Khakhubia and Anzor Bolkvadze.

The watchdog also found irregularities in the 2019-20 asset declarations submitted by the majoritarian candidates who are incumbent or former public officials. According to the report, 5 candidates declared incompletely or did not declare at all the companies they or their family members own and 6 candidates did not transfer the right to manage the company shares in their ownership to another person, which the watchdog had assessed as a violation of the law.

TI Georgia noted that although this study was focused only on the candidates nominated by the ruling party, future reports will cover all other political actors. 

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