Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Alarms, But No Suprises

Appologies to those who have been awaiting my post on 'that' documentary regarding Koba Bekauri. Well it was finally shown through both 202 and Public Television on September 13th. The documentary gave away nothing that had not already been batted around the internet, newspapers and no doubt the dinner tables of Tbilisi. The gist of the piece centres around Bekauri's shady business dealings and is summed up much better than I could offer by Civil Georgia

According to this report, MP Koba Bekauri’s assets increased by 294,000 Lari (about USD 163,000) since he became a parliamentarian one year ago. In an interview, which is the part of this report, Bekauri admits that he received a USD 150,000 interest-free loan from an Israel-based Georgian businessman. According to the law on conflict of interests, an interest-free loan is the same as a gift and public servants have the right to accept gifts within a year only if the gift's value does not exceed 20 times the minimum cost of living – USD 150,000 is much more this figure.

MP Koba Bekauri also admitted that he bought 20% of the shares in the customs terminal Opiza, but registered these shares under his wife's name. But according to the investigative report, MP Bekauri is directly engaged in the management of the terminal. The law also prohibits public servants from participating in the management of private enterprises.

What is probably of greater significance is that this film was transmitted in the first place. Despite my many criticisms of Saakashvili's rule, the broadcasting, on public television, of this sort of film would have been unthinkable under Shevvie's Presidency. Perhaps, as I explained in an earlier article, there are a number of reasons for this. One such possibility raised was that the documentary did not significantly damage Bekauri. Everything shown in the documentary had already become public knowledge, merely rebroadcasting these facts/accusations would not shed new 'negative' light on the case. Infact any attempts to block the documentaries broadcast could have created the impression of guilt for Bekauri.

Further developments in the week seem to reinforce the view that Bekauri, just doesnt have that much dirt on his hands. A parliamentary commission was set up to investigate the MP's activities on wednesday, and this will contain an opposition majority. Thats right. The same opposition who often seem content with just slandering the government (see here) and regularly walking out of Parliament in protest at something or other(see here, here and here). The government must be pretty confident if they dont think even these people, will find Bekauri guilty.


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