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Tbilisi putting value on smugglers2010-12-14 20:53
Georgian economy is quite a helpless phenomenon. That's why, perhaps, the government applies other methods to earn money, such as fulfilling the U.S.' wishes in exchange for grants, sending young men to Afghanistan as food for powder for credits and selling indulgences to convicts under the guise of procedural agreements. Now Tbilisi management has devised a new method of making a quick buck: one can officially pay the bank guarantee price of five thousand laris for smuggling.
One of these days, Georgian parliament adopted amendments to Customs Code under the code name of "stiffened punishment for smuggling". The essence of the document goes as follows: the caught smugglers will lose the right of entering the country's territory. However, the moment they provide a bank guarantee of 5 thousand laris (that's about 3 thousand dollars) the ban will be raised. If the breaker does not commit a repeated crime he will get his money back but if he is again caught in carrying an illegitimate freight across the border he will have only himself to blame: 5 thousand laris will go to the Georgian budget.
GeorgiaTimes has already reported the successfully introduced procedural agreements in Georgia, the practice being swiped from that of the U.S.' The difference is that they over the ocean try to cooperate with the investigation, while in Georgia, they just cease it as soon as the suspect pays the legally established fee. That's pure business in a governmental disguise.
The new customs rules represent a similar legalized method of replenishing the treasury by way of sharing the profit with criminals. In normal civilized countries, smugglers are caught and imprisoned, while in Georgia, they are going to be bred to make a double herd. This secret purpose is not voiced, of course. According to the official version, Customs Code was stiffened after preliminary liberalization.
"When the government facilitated procedures for customs stations, it contributed to the development of the free market economy, on one hand, while on the other hand, there arose a necessity for stiffening administrative matters to prevent smuggled goods from getting to our market", - Parliamentary Secretary of the Government Gia Khuroshvili explains.
The "facilitation of customs procedures" means the 2008 reform when the risk management system was introduced at the Georgian customs. Four coloured corridors appeared one by one: the red one of freights subject to complete inspection, the yellow one for selective check based on documents control, the blue one for those subject to document control and the green one for the declared and paid freights needing no inspection.