Acting National Bank President pledges “no problems in operation”

Natia Turnava, the Acting President of the National Bank of Georgia, said there would be “no problems” with a “stable” operation of the institution. Photo: NBG, 21 Sep 2023 - 12:32, Tbilisi,Georgia

Natia Turnava, the Acting President of the National Bank of Georgia, on Wednesday told Imedi TV channel there would be “no problems” with a “stable” operation of the institution despite resignations of several members of its board following a controversy of a Bank decree exempting Georgian citizens from being sanctioned without domestic court judgments this week. 

Turnava said the Bank had made the decision “in accordance with the Constitution” and would “benefit our citizens and protect them more”.

Her comments followed a public outcry about the decision, which reversed an earlier decree by the NBG that had placed restrictions on bank assets and financial transactions to Otar Partskhaladze, the former Prosecutor General of the country, after he was last week sanctioned by the United States Department of State for alleged ties with Russia.

Turnava told the channel the board members had failed to “withstand political pressure” before resigning following the decree.

[E]veryone has a different dose of tolerance to this pressure [...] but there are other, no less professional members [in the board], [who are] more responsible members towards this organisation”, she said.

Turnava also claimed she was “not under any pressure” herself and had not made the decision on the decree “under someone's influence or pressure”, after the country’s President Salome Zourabichvili on Wednesday alleged the NBG Acting President had “succumbed to threats” made by the ruling Georgian Dream party following the original decree sanctioning Partskhaladze. 

There is pressure when you are urged not to exercise your constitutional authority, to cancel a decision that protects the population of Georgia, because it does not suit someone's political taste”, Turnava alleged in an apparent reference to protests by the domestic opposition of the reversal of the original decree.

The pressure is on when the board members are called to change the leader. There is pressure when I am asked to resign [by the President]. Why should I resign, when I have made a decision in accordance with the Constitution of Georgia, and our citizens will be more protected from now on, even under the influence of international sanctions?”, she said.

The reversal of the earlier decision to sanction Partskhaladze came on Tuesday, when the NBG said it was amending its regulations on compliance with the international sanctions placed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine while “guided by the Constitution of Georgia and the presumption of innocence”, and with the goal to “fully realise the rights and freedoms” of the country’s nationals.