Former Batumi Mayor Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison

Former Batumi Mayor Giorgi Ermakov has been sentenced to 7 years in prison. Another former senior official of Batumi City Hall, Archil Vanadze, who was arrested in the same case, has been found innocent by the court, while another, Egraslan Lomadze, was sentenced to one year and 6 months in prison.

Prior to that, the defendants delivered final speeches.

Adjara Prosecutor's Office detained the former Batumi mayor and other former and acting high-ranking officials of the Batumi Municipality City Hall for embezzlement of state money and abuse of power in May 2019.

The current and former officials who were arrested were: Former Batumi Mayor G.E., Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Sports B.M., Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy A.V., Batumi Vice-Mayor T.P., Head of Municipal Property and Services Management Service of Batumi City Hall, Deputy Head of the City Infrastructure and Improvement Division of Batumi City Hall and Head of the Procurement Division of Batumi City Hall.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, the investigation established that upon the decision of the above-mentioned persons, who were members of the Permanent Tender Commission of Batumi City Hall and held various positions in Batumi City Hall, on October 9, 2015, Batumi City Hall announced an electronic tender on the construction of so-called "affordable houses." According to the tender conditions, the facility should have been constructed using lightweight stainless steel material.

“Before the announcement of the tender, the members of the Tender Commission were informed that there was just one company which had the necessary experience building facilities using lightweight stainless steel,” the investigative agency said, adding that after this Batumi City Hall announced a tender based on the design and building cost estimations prepared by Convert Georgia ltd, which provided them free of charge.

The agency stated that during the electronic tender, the branch of foreign company Convert Georgia submitted fake documents to the unified electronic system of state procurement.

“The members of the Permanent Tender Commission of Batumi City Hall did not discuss the submitted documents, while the same documents submitted by Convert Georgia for the same e-tender announced by Batumi City Hall on May 1, 2015, should have led to the company’s disqualification.”

The Prosecutor’s Office said that despite the fact the submitted documents were not in line with the tender conditions, the members of the Permanent Tender Commission of Batumi City Hall did not disqualify the branch of foreign company Convert Georgia, announced it as winner and signing a GEL 4,279,990 contract with the company.

The Agency stressed this step led to the embezzlement of GEL 1,370,076 of state money.

By Ana Dumbadze 

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27 January 2020 14:33