Former Tbilisi Mayor summoned for questioning once elections ends

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani. Photo by Ministry of Justice Press Office, 02 Jul 2014 - 12:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

The former Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, will not be formally questioned for allegedly embezzling large amounts of state funds until the election runoff ends.

The Inter-Agency Commission met last night and discussed the former Mayor’s case but the meeting ended without the parties agreeing.

Commission member Zurab Tchiaberashvili from United National Movement (UNM) left the meeting in protest, and said his reason for this was because the Commission was unable to provide adequate explanations regarding Ugulava’s case.

"It has been three months we are trying to hear an adequate explanation either from the Minister of Justice or the Commission but unfortunately the same happens every time - acquittal of the Prosecution’s illegal actions through absolutely cynic methods,” Tchiaberashvili said to journalists.

He said the group acknowledged that summoning Ugulava for questioning was a violation of the moratorium imposed by the Government during the election period, they still tried to acquit the Prosecution.

Ugulava has been accused of embezzling a large amount of state funds. He was charged with criminal responsibility on June 30 and summoned to be questioned.

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said Ugulava would not be summoned to be formally questioned until the end of the elections runoffs. She said the court could only discuss the issue of imposing preventive measures on the former Mayor.

"The moratorium during the elections was a kind will of the Prime Minister. There is nothing about this in legislation,” Tsulukiani said.

"Since Mr. Ugulava purchased a ticket for his family members and himself and was going to travel somewhere, he was summoned to be questioned in order to find out where he was set to go and whether or not he was going to evade the Prosecution,” Tsulukiani explained.

"I do not see any moratorium violation in this,” she added.

In previous instances, Ugulava warned law enforcement agencies that he planned to temporarily leave the country, however this time he did not do so, which I what raised suspicion he may flee in an attempt to evade the law.