Authenticity of General Prosecutor's Diploma Questioned

The non-governmental sector and some opposition parties are questioning the authenticity of a diploma of the Georgian General Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, who is one of the nominees for Supreme Court lifetime judge and a candidate for the Supreme Court Chair.

NGO Transparency International Georgia studied documents which confirm inconsistencies with regard to the diploma of the General Prosecutor, saying according to the diploma, Shalva Tadumadze enrolled in the institute in 1993 while the institute itself was established in 1994.

“There are inconsistencies in terms of the graduation date too: the diploma indicated 1998, while, according to Shalva Tadumadze’s resume, it is 1999. We should also note the suspicious unanimity with which the administrative agencies refused for many months to provide us with a copy of Tadumadze’s diploma under various pretexts,” the organization says.

Initially, questions about Tadumadze’s diploma were raised when he was nominated for the post of General Prosecutor. Transparency International Georgia says they had more doubts when none of the state institutions agreed to provide them with copies of Tadumadze’s educational documents.

Among the institutions that rejected the request of the organization is the Administration of the Government where Tadumadze was the Parliamentary Secretary and then Head of the Administration. Further, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Justice Ministry and even Parliament, which elected Tadumadze to the post of General Prosecutor with 101 votes, refused to provide the NGO with the requested documents.

The NGO says that based on these findings, the proper authorities must study the diploma of the General Prosecutor and present substantiated explanations concerning the existing discrepancies. Otherwise, the authenticity of this diploma will remain under question.

The information published on the website of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia reads that Tadumadze studied at the Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute, graduating in 1999 with the qualification of lawyer. Later, he graduated the Faculty of Mining and Geology at the Technical University with a master’s degree in technical sciences.

The resume submitted to the High Council of Justice indicates in greater detail that Tadumadze graduated from the Nodar Dumbadze Tbilisi Humanitarian Institute and that the period of study was 1994-1998. During his speech in Parliament, Tadumadze also confirmed that he began his studies in 1994.

On October 9, at a sitting of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, where the lawmakers held an interview with the Prosecutor General, the opposition MPs stated that the diploma of Tadumadze and the legal education he received are questionable and the candidate has no right to be a judge nor a General Prosecutor.

Giga Bokeria, opposition European Georgia leader, asked Tadumadze to name three persons who studied with him and his professors but the Prosecutor General had no permission to reveal their identities.

Otar Kakhidze, a lawmaker of the same party, inquired about Tadumadze’s academic grade in the History of Law at the university. Tadumadze’s answer was unclear in this case too.

Salome Samadashvili, member of the opposition United National Movement party, openly accused Tadumadze of being “unlettered” and a “swindler,” claiming his diploma was falsified.

Tadumadze said he studied in a higher education institution which was operated lawfully.

“For a year and a half, a group of people has been trying to create a myth that the country has an uncertified General Prosecutor,” Tadumadze said. “There are attempts to create the falsification that this country will have a non-certificated judge of the Supreme Court. But there are no documents confirming that I do not have the legal education. For 18 years there has never been a single document that would cast doubts on my diploma, since I have always been an active lawyer,” he said.

The Prosecutor also said he is sorry that he was born in such a country where during his student years the education system was of a Soviet model.

“Those years we had such an education system…I went to the university there was and learned what they taught me. Accordingly, I have the diploma they gave me… I cannot take responsibility for the Soviet education law that was in force in the country until 1997,” he explained.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream faction, responded to the criticism towards Tadumadze by saying it is speculation and that it is an attempt to “deliberately mislead society.”

Tadumadze was GD founder and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s lawyer and, after the Georgian Dream came to power, he became the government’s Parliamentary Secretary and then Head of the Administration of the Government. In July 2018, Tbilisi State University nominated Shalva Tadumadze for the General Prosecutor’s post and Parliament upheld his candidacy with 101 votes. Tadumadze has since been nominated to Parliament for the post of a lifetime judge of the Supreme Court.

By Tea Mariamidze

10 October 2019 16:51
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