Tbilisi City Court: Ex-official Erekle Kodua guilty of abuse of power

Kodua left Georgia when the Georgian Dream coalition defeated United National Movement in the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.
Agenda.ge, 25 Mar 2016 - 12:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

A former Georgian official who was once of the most influential law enforcers has been found guilty of abuse of power, and will spend almost three years behind bars for the crime, if arrested. 

Today Tbilisi City Court found Erekle Kodua, the ex-head of Georgia’s Special Operative Department, guilty of two counts of abusing his power in 2008-2009 and sentenced him in absentia to two years and eight months in prison. 

An investigation revealed Kodua, who was a top law enforcement official under the United National (UNM)-led government, took part in illegal activities when he was in office in 2008-2009. 

One charge related to an incident in August 2008, where he forced inmate Merab Robakidze, who faced charges for possession and use of drugs, to buy two cars for the state, for $90,000 USD. 

Only after the cars were purchased, Robakidze signed a plea bargain. After this one of the vehicles – a Lexus GX 470 worth $45,000 – was officially registered by Kodua in his son’s name.

The second charge dated back to 2009 when Kodua used his authority to get another inmate to ‘gift’ a car to Kodua’s mother in exchange for a plea bargain for the inmate. 

Tbilisi City Court said at this time Kodua coerced Giorgi Gurchiani, who was in prison on drugs charges, to get his brother and owner of Tbilisi Toyota Centre Erekle Gurchiani to gift a vehicle worth $92,000 to Kodua’s mother Laura Ghatchava, and to buy another car worth $41,000. 

Kodua would have faced a longer prison term however based on Georgia’s Law on Amnesty produced in 2012, Kodua’s sentence was decreased to two years and eight months. 

Kodua is currently abroad in hiding but is wanted by Georgia’s law enforcement bodies. He fled Georgia in 2012 when Georgian Dream coalition came into power.

The former official also faces charges on another, unrelated matter.

Kodua is accused of beating and assaulting Member of Parliament Valeri Gelashvili in 2005. If found guilty of these charges, the ex-official could be sentenced anywhere from three to 10 years behind bars.