Poti Mayor triple combinatory move

2012.03.09 ავტორი: iza salakaia

Investigate Journalist


Poti Mayor Vakhtang Lemondjava is connected with lots of being deprived property. It was often in gross violation of the law. By sole decision of the Mayor, the owner of property was confiscated; another owner’s area was exchanger into other’s one.

Last year, in June, the mayor demanded the owners for being dismantled the shops under the bridge of the Island District (it’s the name one of the Poti districts). The mayor had not got any legal basis for this action; he explained of by the necessity of coastal amenities.


Poti City Hall could not present the plan or project of the amenities to the tspress.ge. The owner of one shop was Anjela Pkhakadze; the other shop belonged to the private legal entity – “Hunters and Fishermen Society”.


The Mayor led the process himself. According to the owners’ saying, the mayor threatened them with arrest.


The hunters and fishermen shop was destroyed without any compensation by the Law on Private Property.


The owner of the second shop, Anjela Pkhakadze decided to project her own rights and required for the compensation or the alternative space foreseen by law.


                                                                         Threatening to give up    


The mayor gave Phakadze a day for dismantling the shop. Otherwise, the mayor threatened her with imprisonment of her husband and to object to “move the tractor”.


Pkhakadze says: “I was told by mayor’s accompanying people if I didn’t destroy the shop, a tractor would be bought and dismantled it; I wouldn’t be able to withdraw anything.”


Pkhakadze had all documents confirming her ownership. She personally presented them to the mayor. Her husband recalls the mayor’s words: “If not silent, be arrested”.



After refusal for compensation, Pkhakadze demanded for legal grounds of the collapse the shop. The mayor could not present it to her.



                                                                                    The mayor’s position


“The bank of the river Rioni is a public assembly and recreation area. Here may not be a second-hand clothes shop. The area was sold illegally, very cheaply. It was not right” – said the mayor during the dismantling process.



According to his saying, it will not be compensated as the owners bought the area on the basis of an illegal transaction.


Lemonjava says: To earn illegal 100 dollar, Severian Shengelia, the former head of the building and architecture department signed any document”. According to his saying he doesn’t put the seller’s legal responsibility due to lack of evidence but he doesn’t apply to law enforcement agencies for investigating. In spite of lack of evidence he serves the function of the prosecutor and court and makes some conclusion: to buy a property of a bribe is the main reason for dismantling without any compensation.


მერი დემონტაჟის მოთხოვნის საფუძვლებზე by TS PRESS


To protect herself from the mayor’s treating. Pkhakadze applied to police. The mayor offered a transaction in exchange for withdrawal complaint from the police.


Pkhakadze says: “The mayor explained to me that he would have to go to trial. It would be very unpleasant for him as a mayor, so he asked me for withdrawal complaint.” 


According to her saying, at first the mayor offered her the space in the construction of private property but she could not get the proposal because of risks. The next proposal about the shop at the nearby market area appeared more convenient for Pkhakadze. On the some day, she received notarized agreement to exchange and property deed from the mayor; Pkhakadze withdrew her complaint from the police.


Whose property was sold by Mayor? Later the mayor refused to have taken part in process of satisfying somebody with the alternative area.


“Self-government has no obligation to the store” – says Lemondjava in his letter.


Tspress.ge could investigate that the store which was allocated to Pkhakadze in exchange for the confiscated property belonged to Manana Pkhakadze, wife of the former mayor and the current Chairman of the Board, Ivane Saginadze.


Anjela and Manana are not relatives they don’t even know each other. However the agreement was signed on including the areas exchange.


The wife of the Chairman of the Board was made to give the property to unknown person (the shop is at the nearby market area). After the transaction the new shop what was allocated to Manana Pkhakadze was destroyed and the City Hall started improving the area. There is the question: why did Manana Pkhakadze exchange her own shop into the building for demolition? \hop could the mayor make her to be agreed with this proposal or in exchange for what did she do such unprofitable turning? Manana Pkhakadze doesn’t want to speak about this. She said: “It’s my personal business and don’t have any right to involve in it”.


In accordance with saying by the Chairman of the Board, his wife agreed to demolish the property after the exchange because of improvements to the City.


-“I don’t want to talk about this subject” – he completed a comment. Later he promised to help the citizens in case of encroaching their properties. Then he denied his own words.


The family of the Head of the Board can’t use the piece of the area. The legal ownership of the land remains and return them at any time may desire, but now they don’t want it.



What happened to Angela Pkhakadze transferred space?   


At that time, when the space was given to Anjela Pkhakadze it had been on the list of the buildings to the dismantling. About the fact Pkhakadze and other owner of the shops got only verbal warning; twelve shop owners were legally.


Without any agreement with the owners, City Hall started dismantling the shops. There was not any Board or a court decision. City Hall Mayor’s Office of Administrative Supervision complied with only verbal instruction.


The start of the dismantling was followed serious resistance by owners. City Hall had to delay collapse process. – “It was collapsed and I rebuilt it” – says Pkhakadze. So did others. In case of destruction her current property she will appeal police.



The destroyed shop of hunters and fishermen      


Like Pkhakadze “Hunters and fishermen society” was demanded for dismantling the shop under the bridge in the “Island District”. The society bought the building from the state for 17000 GEL in 2007. During the dismantling process the president of the society David Bokuchava was in Tbilisi.











He said: “I was called by the City Hall representative Lekso Kuchukhidze and told me that I have owned the ugly building and it needs to be destroyed because of improvements to the city”.

Bokuchava says that Kuchukhidze promised him to be left the land in his own. In case of having a suitable plan he will be given permission to build a new building.



If City Hall could not give him the document and didn’t let him for building, the owner would be going to apply to a court and demand for his compensation, but he has not applied to court until now. He rented the commercial property on the Rustaveli Circle, in Poti.


                                                 What articles of the law were broken for deprivation of property?


The mayor carried out the exchange of the commercial property between two owners based on the pressure, (the property was evaluated as a tribe bought). In one case, it is clear to save his own reputation and safety the mayor went on to deal with the owner. The proposal was winning and she agreed with him. How he could persuade another owner who actually lost the property, is unknown; he doesn’t want to speak about the subject. If we foresee the fact as self-government in Poti is centralized and the mayor is considered as a favorite of the “Centre”, it will not be difficult to determine the degree of independence of the City Hall and its head.


According to the saying by lawyer of the NGO “International transparency Georgia”.


Eka Bokuchava, any kind of pressure and threats is human rights violation.


She says: “The position of the self-government of town for improbing the appearance of the city is absolutely clear, but it is completely unacceptable to demand for dismantling under threat and pressure. The process must be done within the law with suitable returns and compensations without any force method.


According to her saying, the mayor tries to make the owner to be agreed about dismantling the buildings with evading the requirements established by law. Bokuchava thinks that to shop the process needs activity of the victims, but for some reason they have to refuse to protect their own rights.


In accordance with the 21st article of the Constitution private properly is inviolable.


 By the third item of this article, the necessity for the deprivation of property is permitted by decision of the court or the organic law of the urgent necessity of a full and fair compensation for the condition. Despite the fact that the mayor of violations and oppression in the number of people accused (there are the complaints) these facts are not interested in law enforcement.



Translator Nino Jagodnishvili   






Funded through Democracy Commission Small Grants Program, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia




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