Companies of brothers of public officials win tenders in Samtskhe-Javakheti

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The FINANCIAL — Since the election of the Mayor of Akhaltsikhe, his brother and sister-in-law have been winning tenders in the Akhaltsikhe Municipality, while after the election of the Chairperson of the City Council of Aspindza, his brother started winning tenders in the Aspindza Municipality, Transparency International said in its report. In the years 2014-2020, the brother and sister-in-law of the Mayor of Akhaltsikhe received GEL 565,710 from the budget of Akhaltsikhe. During the same period, the brother of the Chairperson of the City Council of Aspindza received GEL 740,065 from the budget of Aspindza.

In addition to the Akhaltsikhe Municipality, the main procurers of Nukia are the Aspindza City Hall and the public schools of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Since 2011, the company has won 37 tenders altogether, receiving GEL 1,045,922 in total, according to TI.

Tenders won by Zaza Melikidze’s sister-in-law without competition in the Akhaltsikhe Municipality

Since the election of Zaza Melikidze as the Head of the Municipal Administration, Nana Maisuradze – the spouse of another brother of his, Tengiz Melikidze, who has the status of a sole entrepreneur – has been winning tenders announced by non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities (N(N)LEs) of the Akhaltsikhe Municipality without competition and supplying the said organizations with baked products.

Nana Maisuradze had not taken part in any public procurements before Melikidze’s election to the office, while from December 2014 up to January 2020, she won 8 of 11 tenders announced by N(N)LE Institution for Pre-school Education and N(N)LE Charity House of the Akhaltsikhe Municipality, including 6 tenders (NAT180020155; NAT180003683; SPA160030025; SPA140030025; SPA140029750; NAT190025475) in which she was the only bidder, and received a total of GEL 318,408.

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Nana Maisuradze only obtained two simplified procurement contracts: she concluded one of them (worth GEL 252) with Charity House, while Zaza Melikidze concluded another contract (worth GEL 130) with his sister-in-law in person. With this money, Nana Maisuradze was supposed to purchase pastries for IDPs and persons devoid of care living in the territory of the municipality.

In total, since Melikidze’s election as the Head of Municipal Administration, his sister-in-law has received GEL 318,790 from 10 public procurements of the Akhaltsikhe Municipality and its N(N)LEs.

It is noteworthy that since Zaza Melikidze became the head of the local authorities, companies under his ownership have also been winning tenders announced by the Akhaltsikhe Municipality without competition. The Mayor has appointed his wife’s brothers and sisters as directors of these companies. In the years 2014-2019, the limited liability companies of Zaza Melikidze and his brother-in-law received more than half a million lari from the Akhaltsikhe Municipality. TI Georgia published a study about this issue in July 2019. On the basis of the study, the Anti-Corruption Agency of the State Security Service launched an investigation under the article of exceeding of official powers.

Tenders won by a brother of Mamuka Melikidze, Chairperson of the City Council of Aspindza, in the Aspindza Municipality

Mamuka Melikidze has been the Chairperson of the City Council of Aspindza since 2014. For some time before being elected to this office, he was the financial director of JSC 21st Century, the construction company of his brother, Malkhaz Melikidze.

Before Mamuka Melikidze became a public official, his brother’s company didn’t take part in the tenders of the Aspindza Municipality. But since Mamuka Melikidze became the Chairperson of the City Council, JSC 21st Century has taken part in 14 tenders announced by the Aspindza Municipality and won 5 of them, receiving GEL 740,065 from the budget of Aspindza in the years 2016-2019.

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In 3 of the 5 tenders won (SPA160023913; NAT180009507; NAT180013270; NAT190014228; NAT190014235), JSC 21st Century was the only bidder, while in 2 cases its competitors were disqualified. In addition, the company won 2 tenders with exactly the same tendering amounts announced by the City Hall, and in 3 cases changes were made to the contracts concluded with the company and the performance of the works was postponed.

Since Mamuka Melikidze’s election to the office, his brother’s company has won a total of 16 tenders with a total value of GEL 3,470,628. Prior to that, in the years 2011-2014, the company had only won 2 tenders with a total value of GEL 218,920.

TI Georgia calls upon the Anti-Corruption Agency of the State Security Service and the Office of the Prosecutor General to study each of the procurements won by JSC 21st Century, Nukia LLC, and Nana Maisuradze and to establish whether these procurements were tailored to their interests and whether they involved signs of corruption.

[1] In the years 2014-2017, similarly to Telavi, Ozurgeti, Zugdidi, Gori, Ambrolauri and Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe had the administrative units of the Self-governing City of Akhaltsikhe and the Self-governing Community of Akhaltsikhe, although before the self-government elections of 2017, the community and the city were reunited into one municipality.

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