Georgian Official Accused of Sexual Harassment Leaves Post

The Head of the National Agency of Public Registry under the Justice Ministry, Papunda Ugrekhelidze, quit his post on Tuesday after being accused of sexual harassment by a former employee.

The official announced his decision on Facebook, saying he is not guilty and is the “victim of lies” spoken by Eka Meskhidze, who worked with him in 2013-2016.

Georgian media says that a second woman has also come forward to accuse Ugrekhelidze of sexual harassment.

In his Facebook post, the former Head of the Public Registry claims Meskhidze is seeking revenge because he dismissed her husband, Zurab Kipiani, who used to work at the Public Registry, on the basis of a disciplinary penalty.

“In order to protect my honor and dignity, most importantly my family and public registry staff, and the Ministry of Justice and the Minister personally, I wrote a statement of resignation,” Ugrekhelidze stated.

Meskhidze, a former employee of Public Registry, accused her boss of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in August 2016. The Public Defender studied the case and found that "Papuna Ugrekhelidze committed discrimination on the basis of sexual harassment.”

The alleged victim also said that she had informed the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice about the harassment.

Nine months ago, the Public Defender released a report on the case, claiming the Public Registry Head had systematically harassed the alleged victim.

Georgian NGOs also released a statement regarding the issue, before Ugrekhelidze’s resignation, urging him to resign and calling on the Justice Minister to take the appropriate steps. However, Tsulukiani has said she needs time to study the case and talk to the both sides first.

By Thea Morrison



27 March 2018 17:12