Poti Single Seat MP’s “Charity” to Buy Voters

2014.03.12 ავტორი: Eliso Janashia

So-called charity activities of the Poti single-seat MP were funded from different companies and businessmen, including the companies of Davit Kezerashvili, former Defense Minister of Georgia. Period of her charity activities mostly coincides with the pre-election period that casts doubt about her personal and political interests in it. Experts evaluate similar activities of the politician as buying of voters.

“Business cannot stay away from the ongoing processes in the country,” MP Eka Beselia of Poti said during the presentation of the Poti renovation charity foundation Pazisi last year. The declared purpose of the Foundation was to attract funds from business sector and to implement some activities in the city. However, neither names of the donators nor planned activities, nor price of the planned work were declared. The Foundation still operates non-transparently.

 

After the single-seat MP called on businessmen to donate funds for the development of the city, they really started funding of different activities; the MP and her bureau are imitators but business pays money for it.

 

“Donation” of funds to different election activities or political purposes by different business companies is well-known practice of the United National Movement. However, there is one difference – in the past the funds were transferred to the accounts of the political party and the leadership spent it according to their decision. With similar operations, the companies used to purchase so called “inviolability.”

 

In Beselia’s case, we have foundations, alliances and various companies, who need some sort of privileges and protection from the government.

 

Fact # 1 – Kezerashvili’s Company Funds Eka Beselia’s “Charity Activities”


“We are about to launch English and computer courses; it will last one year and about 300 children will take the course for free. The Donor is “Petrokas Energy Group,” which funded education of 20 first-year student from Poti last year with our initiative,” MP Eka Beselia opened the Education Center for Pupils and Youth in Poti on December 16, 2013 with this statement. Beselia publicly signed cooperation memorandum with the Company’s representatives (see the main photo).

 

“Direct funding company of the Education Center is Channel Energy, which is Member Company of the Petrokas Energy Group,” Lasha Gvetadze of the Channel Energy told TSpress during the presentation of the Education Center.

 

TSpress inquired which other activities of the MP are funded from the same company and how much funds are allocated for that purpose; Gvetadze said he did not have information about it. Foreign leader of the Company, who was competent to answer the question, was not in Georgia. The Company’s PR manager Nino Jibladze did not answer TSpress’ questions being busy and uniformed about the issue.

 

According to the information collected by the TSpress, Petrokas Energy Group was registered in the Cyprus Off-Shore Zone. The survey of the Transparency International Georgia reads that after elections, Davit Iakobashvili purchased majority of Davit Kezerashvili’s assets including Poti Port Oil Terminal Operator Ltd Channel Energy (Poti) (run by Gibraltar Ltd Channel Energy). According to the same survey, from 2011, Iakobashvili was Kezerashvili’s business-partner in several energetic companies.

 

About a month ago, News Agency Pirveli published a scheme, according to which, Davit Kezerashvili still has connection with not only the companies registered in off-shore zones but also with large business companies operating in Georgia too, including Channel Energy. The article tells about the report of the Audit Company Deloitte on solid incomes of the Company Future Products Company registered in the Seychelles by Kezerashvili. According to the company’s audit, other subsidiary companies of the Future Products Company aslo function in Georgia and Ltd Channel Energy (Poti) Georgia is one of them.

Fact # 2 – Businessman wishing to construct methanol factory in Poti will sponsor participant of the beauty contest based on Eka Beselia’s request


Company Channel Energy owns 32,67% of the Company Poti Terminal Holding, which intends to construct methanol factory in Poti but local population has been protesting it for years. Last year, the Company repeatedly petitioned to the Poti City Hall and the single-seat MP with the request. The City Hall did not issue permission but short time later the Company Channel Energy became sponsor of the Model Agency Katrin; Eka Beselia’s daughter is one of the models of the agency and her sister is head of Public Relation Unit.

 

Founder of the Model Agency Ekaterine Mgaloblishvili confirmed with TSpress that Channel Energy Company really transferred money to them as a result of Eka Beselia’s mediation; however, the money was not transferred for Lizi Gubeladze (MP’s daughter), who indeed participated in and won beauty contest in Bulgaria but for other socially indigent participant of the contest.  Mgalobishvili said she simultaneously petitioned to the Poti Mayor and MP for funding but received support only from the latter.

 

In her interview to the TV-Company Ninth Channel Georgian Dream’s member Marina Glonti spoke about the transfer of 10 000 lari to fund traveling of Beselia’s daughter to the contest by a businessman. However, Mgalobislivhili could not recall whether the Company had really transferred the aforementioned sum to the agency.

 

We got hold of Katrin’s petition to the City Mayor for funding, which was later signed by the Minister of Culture Miriane Odisharia. The Minister addressed to Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi mayors asking them to assist model agencies in their cities. The enclosed documents show that Tsira Beselia is head of Public Relation Unit of the Katrin.

 

When we asked whether Tsira Beselia was MP’s sister, Mgaloblishvili replied: “You know… no, we have stopped… I cannot hear you… hallo,” and the phone conversation stopped; then she did not answer phone calls. According to TSpress’ information, Tsira Beselia is MP’s sister.

 

Fact #3 – Sponsor of the contest Miss Teenager in Poti


In July of 2013, Model Agency Katrin organized contest Miss Teenager in Poti. Participants lived in luxurious hotel Andamat in Grigoleti during two days. The grand show was organized near the ship parked on the Rioni River embankment in Poti. According to TSpress information, all expenses were covered by the Channel Energy. Director of the Katrin did not say anything about funding but confirmed information that Company representatives attended the contest. Poti MP also attended the show; her daughter participated in the presentation.


Fact # 4 – how to become financial director of the foundation associated with MP Beselia


Last year, a Turkish businessman petitioned to the Human Rights Parliamentary Committee to investigate the case of fraudulently misappropriated funds.

 

Eka Beselia and Ekaterine Mgaloblishvili

Prometko Georgia and Ggeesko are the companies, whose funds – more than 3 million USD, were misappropriated by the company Sonata Alliance Georgia Ltd, associated with Vano Chkhartishvili. “Levan Jgarkava, an ally of Chkhartishvili, was directly involved in the process,” Mamuka Kakushadze, Georgian representative of the Turkish businessman Omar Sar Mam, made the statement. Afterwards, Levan Jgarkava became commercial director of the foundation Pazisi.

 

Fact # 5 –   Vote buying


Besides aforementioned facts, which demonstrate that MP asked businessmen to transfer money for her and party interests, some facts of voters’ buying were observed before presidential elections; Eka Beselia and her party members personally participated in it.

 

Alliance Golden Fleece, which was founded two months before the elections (August, 2013), officially funded the party activities; board members of the alliance were: that time member of the Georgian Dream and MP’s bureau Maya Makalatia; GD’s supporter Gizo Tsatsua. During the election period, Makalatia represented Georgian Dream in Poti DEC.

 

The organization together with the single-seat MP, her bureau and party members distributed material presents to IDPs, indigent and disabled persons from August to October of 2013 (Presidential Elections were held October 27); owner of the agricultural market Nodar Korsantia funded the organization. Ninth Channel prepared special program about Korsantia’s activities. Edition nikoladzeisgzit.ge permanently highlights activities of the Alliance; the edition was created with the support of the MP Beselia. Other media sources do not get information about the planned activities of the MP.

 

Reportedly, the Alliance and the MP’s bureau implemented the following charity activities before pre-election campaign.

 1. Last year, on September 15, during official pre-election campaign, Golden Fleece distributed school bags, school items and sweets for 150 first-year socially indigent and IDP pupils of Poti Public Schools # 1, # 3, # 7 and St. Nikoloz School together with MP Beselia’s bureau. “We have been conducting charity activities together with the MP’s bureau for a long time,” Belkania said in the TV-story. Soon, same presents were assigned to kindergartens and disabled people)

 

2.On September 30, Golden Fleece and the MP’s Bureau conducted joint charity event, in the frame of which 18 socially indigent people and IDPs were sent to Kareli resort for elderly people. Representative of the MP’s bureau Maya Makalatia also participated in the departure. The event was organized for the second time.

 

3.Head of children’s day center Tamar Popkhadze told TSpress that MP Eka Beselia assisted her to contact businessman Nodar Korsantia, who financially supported the center.

 

4.On October 19-20, a week before the Presidential Elections, doctors invited by the Golden Fleece provided population with free medical assistance. Eka Beselia also participated in the action. She thanked to doctors for the service. According to statistics 3000 visits were recorded. About 600 citizens took medical examination. In addition, patients received some presents too,” press-release from the Golden Fleece’s Facebook page. Photos were published on the webpage of Eka Beselia’s bureau too.

 

5.On September 21, in the name of the charity action, about 10 people with disabilities received wheelchairs; the presents were distributed by former head of the MP’s bureau Valeri Tetunashvili together with the Alliance director.

  1. Joint action of the nongovernmental organization Alliance Golden Fleece and MP’s bureau. Zuri Janturia, resident of Topuria street and Dinoza Kharchilava, resident of Javakhishvili str # 3 received new wheelchairs,” information from the Facebook page.

  1. Chairman of the Georgian Dream’s Poti organization Irakli Kakulia and market director Nodar Korsantia continued distribution of presents after elections too. Reportedly, MP’s favorite Irakli Kakulia shall participate in the elections of the Poti mayor too.
 

Who are members of the market’s charity administration?


In the past, market owner supported the United National Movement. Korsantia openly supported former Minister of Interior Vano Merabishvili; members of the UNM’s local organization also confirmed the information.

 


After parliamentary elections, Korsantia and Belkania became supporters and donators of the Georgian Dream. Market administration celebrated Giorgi Margvelashvili’s victory in the presidential elections together with the local office of the political party. Belkania is often seen together with Eka Beselia when central governmental officials or ministries visit Poti.)

UNM members in Poti do not exclude possibility that Alliance director and director of the agricultural market Thea Belkania might be inserted on the election list of the political party for the upcoming local elections because of their charity activities. Belkania did not make comments with TSpress and blamed the edition in impartiality like Beselia does.


Leader of the Georgian Dream’s local office Irakli Kakulia and former head of the MP’s bureau Valeri Tetunashvili did not comment on the fact. Tetunashvili just confessed that he participated in the charity actions in the name of the bureau.

 

TSpress addressed to Eka Beselia with the question about the issue but as her press-center clarified the MP is not going to comment on the issue. “When representatives of the party’s head office or single seat MP’s bureaus participate in similar actions, it is vote buying.)

 

Generally, vote buying is providing or distribution of gifts and other material property to Georgian citizens for free by the candidate, or through other people. These facts contain signs of bribery. When something is created before elections, doubts are raised.

 

The most important is how society accepts it. If the charity is associated with the party’s members, it is bribery. We had similar examples in Guria, when wheelchairs were distributed from the political party’s office. It makes no difference whether presents are distributed from the party’s office or otherwise. Bribery can be direct and indirect.

 

Single seat MP represents a political party; she/he is a political figure so when she provides people with free service, they should be separated from it and similar activities must not be associated with her or the party’s name,” head of ISFED Nino Lomjaria said and added the organization will study the aforementioned facts and react to them.

 

Head of Election and Political Technologies Study Center Kakha Kakhishvili thinks audit office shall study similar facts.

Irakli Kakulia and Nodar Korsantia

 

*Photos from the official Facebook pages of Eka Beselia’s bureau and Alliance Golden Fleece 

გამოძიება
ფოტორეპორტაჟი

გამოკითხვა

რომელ კანდიდატს მისცემთ ხმას საპარლამენტო არჩევნებში?

Voted: 0

NED