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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Georgia's agricultural minister resigned amidst fraud scandal (with video)

02.05.2013 (Hvino News). Georgia's Minister of Agriculture Davit Kirvalidze has resigned after ten of his staff were detained in a corruption scandal.

Mr. Kirvalidze resigned on Thursday taking responsibility for a fraudulent scheme uncovered in his ministry.

Police on Wednesday detained ten employees suspected of being involved in fraud in connection with an agricultural voucher program. The vouchers allowed farmers to buy various equipment. Those who are detained are suspected of forging documents about the distribution of vouchers and thereby appropriating part of the money.

The suspects may face from 6 to 9 years in jail, but the investigation is not yet finished. Thursday, Kirvalidze informed journalists that he would resign.

“I know most of those [detained] persons very well. Many of them are my friends and teachers. That’s why I take political responsibility and I have applied to the government for my resignation until truth is revealed,” he said.

His duties are now carried out by his deputy Shalva Pipia. Government officials do not exclude that Kirvalidze may return to his position after the investigation is finished, but he himself declined to say whether he may return.

Georgia's Anti-Corruption Agency under the Interior Ministry detained the head of the department of the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia Omar Tedoradze, the director of the Institute of Mechanization of the Ministry of Agriculture Zaza Makharoblidze, the director of Mekhanizator LLC Vaja Nakhutsrishvili and his deputies Mamuka Ivanidze and Besik Tetvadze, as well as professor of the Agricultural University Otar Karchava.

As reported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, those detained are charged with misappropriation of budget funds and professional negligence. In particular, it is about embezzlement of two million lari out of 54 million lari (33 million USD) allocated from the budget for agricultural purposes.

© Hvino News

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