The Chief Prosecutor's Office of Georgia applied to the parliament for a consent to institute a criminal proceeding against minority MP Roland Akhalaia and officially accuse him with wrongdoing. "The case concerns the fact of abuse of official power by Roland Akhalaia when he served as the chief prosecutor of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region," the statement of the prosecution said on 14 March.
According to the investigation, in December 2009, Roland Akhalaia asked a citizen Marina Esebua to transfer 150,000 GEL into the account of "non-existing Anaklia Development Fund" for charitable aims in exchange for a plea agreement with Esebua's accused husband. The prosecution alleges that the bank account which Akhalaia indicated to Esebua, was the bank account of a private company Sani owned by Akhalaia's close friend. According to the prosecution, Esebua had to agree to such an offer and she transferred the amount onto the company's bank account, which was fully expended for the company's commercial needs.
Moreover, the prosecution asserts that by applying the same method, Roland Akhalaia asked families of three accused persons to transfer 60,000 GEL on the bank account of the same Sani company in exchange for plea agreements. The amount was transferred by a person close to the accused persons on 25 December 2009. The prosecution says that Roland Akhalaia must be accused for a crime envisaged in paragraph 1, article 333 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
"Pursuant to paragraph 7, article 169 of the Criminal Procedures Code of Georgia, the parliament's consent is needed to bring charges against an MP, whilst pursuant to paragraph 2, article 167 of the same Code, a criminal prosecution must not be initiated if the parliament refuses to give its consent on charging an MP with criminal offence. Consequently, observing the procedural norms, the Chief Prosecutor's Office has applied to the parliament of Georgia for a consent to launch a criminal proceeding against MP Roland Akhalaia and to charge him with the criminal offence. The prosecution will wait for a decision of the parliament and in case the consent is received, will institute a criminal proceeding against Roland Akhalaia," says the Chief Prosecutor's Office.
MP Roland Akhalaia has described the attempt of the prosecution to accuse him as provocation. He said he did not commit any crime.
"This is the provocation staged by the head of Zugdidi investigation service, who is the closest friend of [previous Chief Prosecutor Otar] Partskhaladze. In reality, there was no crime. This amount is there - it was intended for the Patriarchate. There was a plan to build a residence for the Catholicos-Patriarch [of All Georgia Ilia II]. I and Zugdidi episcope found a plot of land for that and arrived there but thereafter even that land was not allocated for certain reasons. I do not know if this is what the accusation is about; I have not seen it yet," Akhalaia told Rustavi 2 TV company later on 14 March.