The FINANCIAL — The Anti-Corruption Agency of the Georgian State Security Service arrested the former Zugdidi Mayor, Lasha Gogia, and his deputy, Gia Gulordava, both of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, on charges of corruption.
According to the Security Service statement, Gogia and Gulordava, in their respective capacities as the mayor and the deputy mayor, requested and accepted USD 21,500 from a businessman for announcing a public procurement call on two land plots in Zugdidi, the administrative center of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region.
The Security Service opened the investigation on September 13, based on the audio recording published by Rustavi 2 TV, where the businessman is accusing Gogia and Gulordava of accepting the money but not fulfilling the promise.
Both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor denied the allegations, but resigned from their posts. Gorgia, however, said he would remain a member of the GDDG and would retain his position as the chairman of the party’s Zugdidi office.
In October, he was seen at GDDG-backed candidate Salome Zurabishvili’s campaign meetings in Zugdidi, but Civil.ge was unable to verify his exact role in the campaign.
The Security Service is leading the investigation under article 338 of the criminal code of Georgia, involving bribe-taking. The detainees might face imprisonment from 11 to 15 years.
Gogia was elected the Mayor of Zugdidi during the 2017 municipal elections.