Prime Minister of Georgia – Irakli Garibashvili resigns

On January 29, Irakli Gharibashvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia, announced his resignation. He also stated his intention to assume the role of party chairman. Gharibashvili explained that he had discussed this decision with his team.

“I am stepping down from the role of Prime Minister,” he stated. “During my second term, I faced the most challenging domestic and international political, economic, and social crises. I have served our country steadfastly, always defending the interests of our nation and its people. I am proud of the accomplishments we have achieved as a team during this time.”

Garibashvili reflected on his tenure under the Georgian Dream’s rule, noting that he had the longest stint as Prime Minister, totalling five years over two terms. He emphasized the internal democracy within the party, citing the principle of rotation as a key strength. “There are many capable leaders in our team, and it’s important to offer opportunities to others,” he added.

The former prime minister revealed that the political council of Georgian Dream had considered the option of him staying in office until the start of the election campaign in the summer. However, he chose to make his decision earlier. Gharibashvili highlighted the importance of allowing the next prime minister to form a new government and present his team on time.

On the same day, the TV “Imedi” reported that Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream party, and former chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, is set to become the country’s next prime minister.

Irakli Garibashvili first assumed the position of Prime Minister in 2013 but left the role in 2015. He returned to politics in 2019, citing problems within the governing party as his reason. Initially serving as the party’s political secretary and later as the minister of defence, Gharibashvili was nominated by Georgian Dream to be Prime Minister for a second time following the resignation of Giorgi Gakharia on February 18, 2021.

Persons detained during the accident related to the eviction of the family

On January 25, two individuals, Kako Chikobava and Giorgi Khasaia, were detained in Tbilisi, on Kekelidze Street and subsequently imprisoned as a preventive measure. They are currently under investigation for charges related to the damage of a car belonging to the National Enforcement Bureau. If found guilty, Chikobava and Khasaia could face a prison sentence ranging from 3 to 6 years.

The legal representatives of Giorgi Khasia and Akaki Chikobava have filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal, seeking a modification to the restraining order issued against their clients.

The incident leading to these arrests occurred on January 23 during an eviction process carried out by the enforcement police. A family was being evicted from their apartment at Kekelidze N1, Tbilisi. Responding to the eviction, individuals, including family members, gathered in the apartment to protest. The police initially asked these individuals to vacate the premises peacefully but eventually had to forcibly remove them from the area.

The enforcement police faced significant resistance while trying to enter the apartment, which lasted over two hours. Both the entrance doors and the entrance hall of the apartment were found to be welded shut. The police received assistance from patrol officers and the emergency management service, both in terms of equipment and personnel, to gain entry into the apartment.

In the course of the eviction, a total of 20 individuals were arrested. This included Chikobava and Khasaya, who were detained under the Criminal Code. The remaining 18, including journalist Gela Mtivlishvili, were arrested for violations under the Code of Administrative Offences, specifically for disobeying a police officer’s request and for disturbing public order.

Anti-corruption bureau will check the financial declarations of 300 officials

Due to heightened public interest and concerns about potential corruption, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has announced plans to scrutinize the property declarations of various high-ranking officials in Georgia. This includes members of the Georgian government, members of parliament, representatives from the highest governing bodies of Adjara and Abkhazia, and other government members.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau, as stated on its website, has resolved to examine the property declarations of 300 officials. Among those whose property declarations are of particular interest are former Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, members of the Cabinet and members of parliament, and the Mayor of Tbilisi, Kakha Kaladze.

On January 22, “Transparency International – Georgia” revealed that through its efforts, the property declarations of an additional 300 officials will be audited in 2024. The organization highlighted that, based on statistics from previous years, nearly every second official has failed to fully disclose their property holdings, raising concerns about the completeness and accuracy of these declarations. This initiative underscores a growing focus on transparency and anti-corruption measures within the country.

According to the Ministry of Finances, there have been recorded 1,770 attempts to circumvent sanctions against the Russian Federation

Lasha Khutsishvili, the Minister of Finance of Georgia, reported a significant number of cases involving potential sanction evasion at Georgian customs. He discussed this matter during a ceremony commemorating International Customs Day.

Khutsishvili revealed that following the implementation of sanctions, Georgian customs authorities recorded as many as 1,770 instances where individuals or entities were denied entry or clearance at the customs borders due to suspected sanction violations. He emphasized the efficiency of the current system, stating, “To date, 36 operational risk profiles are active. These profiles automatically flag data related to sanctions and trigger the identification of additional risk factors.” The Minister also highlighted the recognition of Georgia’s customs services by international partners for their diligent work in this area.

Additionally, Khutsishvili pointed out that there have been approximately 1,000 instances where business partners sought guidance from the customs authority for appropriate compliance with these sanctions.

He further explained that in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a special task force was established within the Revenue Service. This group is specifically dedicated to monitoring the movement of sanctioned goods and individuals through Georgia’s controlled territory, ensuring adherence to international sanctions and regulations.

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