Defence Minister confident of his employee’s integrity

Four current and one former high officials from the Ministry of Defence have been arrested for allegedly misspending 4.1 million GEL., 01 Nov 2014 - 14:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

Defence Minister Irakli Alasania has complete confidence in the integrity of his employees and says he is sure of "complete innocence” in the case of allegedly misspending 4.1 million GEL of state money by Ministry high officials.

The Minister, who returned home from a foreign visit this morning, said "the most important thing” was an investigation into the allegations should be led in a transparent way.

"I was observing a procurement process in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and I know that everything was done in full compliance with the law,” Alasania said.

"Though, certain questions arose and they need to be answered. The whole Ministry personnel stand ready to cooperate with an ongoing investigation.”

The Minister said he wanted to study all the details of the case.

"It is important that our guys feel themselves protected and I will draw my attention to ensure that they will not feel themselves oppressed,” he said.

"Unfortunately the signs and preconditions of it have already appeared, as the investigation process is not open to the public.”

Alasania believed the case needed to be declassified. He said the security of the country had already been damaged by this fact so now there was no sense to keep those facts a secret that had to be confidential in the past.

"It is crucial that the investigation should be led in an open and transparent way to identify the truth. Discussions must be held at the highest political level,” the Minister said, adding he was going to meet the Prime Minister, President and relevant Parliamentary committees to discuss the case.

Five men - four current Ministry employees and one former official – were accused of misspending 4.1 million GEL. They were arrested on October 28.  Details of the case are classified so limited information can be published.

Tbilisi City Court decided to keep the men in a pre-trial detention before the investigation ends, which was appealed by the defendants today.

The Chief Prosecutor's Office has summoned Deputy Defence Minister Aleksandre Batiashvili to be questioned as a witness on November 3.