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Refugees Special Purpose07.10.2011 | 18:27
It turns out that Georgia has VIP-refugees from South Ossetia. It is these people who get the building vacated by the settlers from Abkhazia, who has been living in Sakartvelo still under Shevardnadze, from the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement of the Republic. GeorgiaTimes' correspondent spoke with the leader of the party "Free Georgia" Kakha Kukava and chairman of the Public Movement "Multinational Georgia" Arnold Stepanyan about lawlessness of officials. They told our edition of the facts of total corruption in the higher echelons of Georgian government and how Saakashvili's team uses refugees for their own purposes.
of Georgian government and how Saakashvili's team uses refugees for their own purposes.
For a year Tbilisi authorities are literally expelling the refugees from the capital. People are offered unfinished housing without water and electricity in the regions. If these conditions do not satisfy the displaced, they can wait until the end of construction at the street or to get a derisory compensation of $ 10 thousand. Numerous rallies, demanding the resignation of the head of department Koba Subeliani, near Mikhail Saakashvili's residence and the building of the Ministry of settlement, gave nothing.
In Tbilisi, they say, that Subeliani is a man of the president. Because otherwise he would have been removed for corruption. The fact is that over the past two years Minister has greatly improved his own living conditions. Not long ago, Chamber of Control of Georgia sent Saakashvili quite scandalous conclusion stating that from 700-odd thousand lari allocated to refugees, half was spent by Subeliani for postage. Nevertheless, the official saved his position.
This week new shocking details of the work of Ministry were revealed. According to opposition party "Free Georgia", the authorities have divided refugees into two categories - VIP-refugees and those people who have been living in the country under Shevardnadze. As an example, opponents of Saakashvili's regime led the eviction of people from the former college Gogebashvili in Gldani. "People appealed to us and they said that authorities are going to populate the housing where they lived earlier with "privileged" refugees, and this fact is insulting for them, said the party. To double-check the information we appealed to the Ministry of Refugees and Resettlement which confirmed this fact".
We contacted with the leader of "Free Georgia" Kakha Kukava and asked him to shed light on the lawlessness of the country's authorities. Opposition member said that a large number of refugees from Abkhazia in Georgia appeared in the early nineties, after the war. It's about a hundred thousand people who live in Tbilisi, Zugdidi and other cities. The second wave of immigrants - from South Ossetia - took place under the new Georgian ruler Saakashvili after 2008.
"The number of these people caught up in the country is much less - about 20 thousand people. But for them the government has developed special programs which can be compared with the propaganda, - said Kukava. - This is a demonstrative construction of special settlements, allocation of houses and money compensation in order to show foreign donors their care about those who have suffered as a result of the Russian-Georgian war. But the fact is that formally there were allocated $ 6 billion of aid from the EU and the U.S. for 20 thousand refugees. For Georgia, this is a huge amount of money especially when compared with the budget of the country. And 99 percent of them were spent by corrupt officials of Saakashvili's administration. Most of the second wave immigrants do not really live in these houses, though, they have done something for them".
If we talk about refugees from Abkhazia, not a penny was spent for them, according to our interlocutor. "People are already joking, saying that we are refugees of Shevardnadze, and they are refugees of Saakashvili. There are lots of videos which show that these people live in such slums which is difficult to imagine. There are 3.2 square meters per capita but there is neither water nor sewerage and the roof leaks, - said opposition leader. - At one time, refugees from Abkhazia were allowed to occupy buildings which were owned by the state but were not claimed. There the people lived somehow. Till Saakashvili began accelerated privatization process. The government wants to sell these buildings and to build hotels there. Since, this is, in addition to subsidies of the West, the main source of revenue budget of the country".
Answering the question of whether Koba Subeliani will take responsibility for his actions, Kukava said that the minister is not threatened because he launders huge money allocated by European institutions which go to the pockets of families of Mikhail Saakashvili, Vano Merabishvili ( Interior Minister - Ed.), Ugulava (Tbilisi Mayor - Ed.) and others. "Moreover, Subeliani is Saakashvili's favorit and Ugulava's classmate" - said the head of "Free Georgia". And he told about the scheme of legalization of aid donors: "For example, the German government allocates aid for refugees in Georgia € 100 million. The government buys pasta for one million of these money and hand out before the TV cameras at the centers for immigrants. The rest of these money goes in their pockets. They have huge financial interests".