Ruling party official rejects claims on transparency of NGO funding

The official also said the draft law was “about transparency before citizens”. Photo: Georgian Dream Press Office, 29 Apr 2024 - 15:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Mamuka Mdinaradze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party in the Parliament, on Monday said it was “false” to claim that funding of domestic non-governmental organisations was transparent, in comments on the reintroduced bill on the transparency of foreign influence on the backdrop of public protests.

Speaking about the bill that calls for the registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they derive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad, Mdinaradze said organisation reports submitted to the Revenue Service were “tax or commercial secrets”.

They also submit statements only about income tax to the Revenue Service. In some cases, this is a commercial secret, while in others a tax secret, which the state body has no right to disclose. This is a simple story. The state body does not have the right to disclose this, and even if it had, the state body could not be engaged in the financial analysis. Only the income tax is traceable”, he said.

The official also said the draft law was “about transparency before citizens”.

“We are talking not about transparency before the state, but before the public - that is, the people who cannot be satisfied when even the state does not have a complete idea [of the situation], and if the financial monitoring service is involved in a specific case, then it may find something that will [still] be non-transparent to the people”, he concluded.

The Legal Affairs Committee of the Georgian Parliament on Monday resumed deliberations on the bill, reintroduced by the ruling Georgian Dream party against public protests, in its second hearing.