Representatives of private car company Citroen Georgia said at a press conference that companies related to government members are being favored in state procurement tenders. Singer Gia Gachechiladze, known as Ucnobi, who is related to the owners of Citroen Georgia, said during the press conference that government members abuse the Prime Minister’s trust and fair character and act unlawfully behind his back.
The case of Tariel Khechikashvili, one of the richest politicians in Georgia, was mentioned by Citroen Georgia. Khechikashvili is currently Georgia’s Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs but will lose his post when the Ministry of Sport merges with the Ministry of Culture in 2018. Khechikashvili’s property declaration lists over 20 companies registered in his name; the companies have been actively participating in state procurement tenders.
Tabula looked into the history of state procurement tenders and found that since May 2015, government structures have purchased 502 vehicles from companies listed in Khechikashvili’s financial declaration. The government structures completing the purchases included the Service Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ministry of Finance. The total cost of these tenders amounts to approximately 23.5 million GEL.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili denied the accusations made by Gachechiladze, saying the claims are groundless and offensive, and that all government tenders are conducted lawfully. Prime Minister Kvirikashvili advised Gachechiladze to appeal to court with his case. Kvirikashvili stated that if the court finds Gachechiladze’s claims to be true, he will leave office.