Finance Ministry Investigative Department Launches Investigation over GEM Fest

The Investigative Department of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia has launched an investigation over the Georgian Electronic Music Festival (GEM fest).

The Department reports that the investigation was launched with regard to the financial violations during the festival, adding the relevant documents have been seized from the festival administration office.

“At this stage, necessary investigative actions are underway. In particular, documents are being seized and witnesses are being questioned”, says the statement of the Agency.

Giorgi Sigua, founder of the GEM Fest music festival says he was summoned for questioning regarding the case.

The organizer of the festival assures that he is going to cooperate with the investigation.

He also added that State funds were spent on bringing foreign artists to Georgia and no one can say that any of them did not arrive.

“They say I had embezzled state funds, but I have not taken anything from the state. The state contribution was very small. We brought more than 500 artists to Georgia. All artists, for whom the state funds had been spent, arrived and performed here,” he stressed.

Sigua explained that the festival, that lasted from July 14 to August 14, was not as successful as expected, adding this was caused due to several problems, which led to serious financial problems.

He also commented on the statement of the festival employees, who demand their unpaid salaries from the festival administration and in case their request is not met, they are going to file a lawsuit against the GEM Fest administration.

“Only 35 out of 350 employees have not fully received their payments. But we have not escaped and everybody will get their money. As for state taxes, we were paying taxes each month and we do not have any arrears”, he said. 

Sigua said that a month-long festival did not succeed but he will try to implement other projects without the state funding.

GEM Fest employees stated on Monday that they are going to file a lawsuit against the administration of the event, in case they do not get their salaries until August 18.

The employees have addressed the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) to protect their interests.

By Thea Morrison


18 August 2017 00:49