On 1 October 2013, at the plenary session of the Georgian Parliament, member of the Parliamentary Minority, Vakhtang Lemonjava declared: “We discussed the legalisation of land; it was important to continue the process we started. But, unfortunately, the process of registering the entire property of the population was terminated.”FactCheck
took interest in the accuracy of the statement.
We contacted Vakhtang Lemonjava to clarify to what process he was referring when making the abovementioned statement.
According to Lemonjava’s response: “In summer 2012, the Civil Registry started the countrywide free registration of real estate and land of the Georgian population. At the sittings of the Agricultural Committee, I suggested to the Ministry of Agriculture to continue the process of registration to have a comprehensive electronic database that would enable the agency to identify what amount of assistance should be given to each household within the framework of the abovementioned programme.”FactCheck
learnt from the representative of the Public Registry that in summer 2012, agricultural land excluded from the administrative boundaries of the self-governing cities was registered to the population free-of-charge. It is noteworthy that the registration was carried out mainly based upon the household registration books (if there was an ancestor owing the land, etc.). Only a personal statement and a land survey map were enough for registration.
Resolution No. 509 dated 29 December 2011 regulates the service fees, the methods of payment and the terms of service of the National Agency of Public Registry. According to the resolution, the registration (including insuring the recognition of the property rights) of the property rights on the agricultural land in legal ownership (usage) that were out of the administrative boundaries of Tbilisi and Batumi cost GEL 50 (Paragraph D, Article 2).
Resolution No. 509 was amended on 28 June 2012. The government adopted Resolution No. 231 on the Regulation of certain issues related to the registration of property rights and improvement of cadastral data of the arable and agricultural land within the territory of Georgia. The resolution concerns agricultural land comprising the following land types: pasturing, mowing, arable (perennial, gardening, vegetable gardening) and homestead plots.
According to Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the abovementioned resolution, the National Agency of Public Registry (LEPL) is to carry out the property right registration or amend the registration of agricultural land free-of-charge provided there is no exact cadastral data on the land in accordance with the instructions of the Public Registry.
The free-of-charge registration is not carried out on the agricultural land situated within the boundaries of a self-governing city or a recreation territory (Article 1, Paragraph 4). Georgian self-governing cities are Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Poti.
In order to better understand the subject, we addressed the Public Registry in a written form to withdraw the following information:
- What was the basis (legal document) for free-of-charge registration of real estate and agricultural land started in the summer of 2012?
- When exactly did the process start and who was responsible for the registration?
- Which regions and how many people benefited from the project?
- Why was the abovementioned project terminated?
- Who allocated the money for the abovementioned project?
- What documents (personal statement, land survey plan, etc.) were required for registration?
We received a response to our letter on 9 December which confirms that the Georgian Government adopted Resolution No. 231 on the Regulation of certain issues related to the registration of property rights and improvement of cadastral data of the arable and agricultural land within the territory of Georgia on 28 June 2012. Land registration began based upon the abovementioned resolution.
The letter also informed that within the framework of the resolution, the registration was carried out on the whole Georgian territory based upon the registration documents (personal statement, land survey plan, any other documents if any/if necessary) defined by Georgian legislation.
Additionally, the registration of property rights was carried out in the following regions: Kvemo Kartli, Shida Kartli, Mtskheta-Tianeti, Kakheti, Imereti, Samegrelo, Guria, Racha-Lechkhumi, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Ajara. A total of 200,242 people benefited from the aforementioned project.
The project was funded by the Public Registry income in accordance with Georgian legislation. At the same time, 145 agreements on government procurement were signed within the project’s framework whose total amount equalled GEL 2,035,000.00. Of this amount, GEL 824,414.00 was reimbursed.
We interviewed Ivane Tsertsvadze, Head of the Public Registry Registration and Cadastral Assurance, about the processes of 2012. According to his statement: “The resolution adopted by the government encompassed verifying the factual accuracy of the registered data obtained during the period of systemic registration and processing of the data in relevant databases. This would provide for comprehensive data. The process started on 28 June and was completed by the end of September (after receiving the final data).
A tender was announced to identify the companies that would present the information collected in accordance with the systematically registered data. The land that was registered in previous years did not have any cadastral data. The abovementioned project aimed to fill the registration database with registered data. Based upon agreement, the selected companies were provided with certain materials, maps and diagrams in order to enable them to verify the data, clarify the boundaries or correct the information, if necessary.
The companies electronically sent us the verified data that was automatically reflected in the application database. The data was processed and verified technically (e.g., the base checked whether or not there were any problems with other registered people or the accuracy of the identification data) and compared with the civil database. In the case where no problems were revealed, the information was automatically registered on behalf of the Agency.
The registration was carried out by the programme (each right was not processed individually) which is why we encountered certain discrepancies. This caused citizens to provide additional information confirming the property rights to the Public Registry.”
Ivane Tsertsvadze also admitted that not all property rights were verified by the project and in total there are more than one million agricultural land units identified by the systemic registration.
In response to our question about whether or not such projects are planned for the future, he indicated that the Agency wants to initiate projects in an updated form due to the fact that in some cases additional documentation was required because of the abovementioned discrepancies.
Evidently, the current government is implementing the resolution adopted by the previous government and is carrying out the registration of agricultural land free-of-charge.
Further, Vakhtang Lemonjava is wrong in declaring that the process was terminated. The registration process carried out in 2012 was a part of the project finalised by the end of September 2012. The process is still in progress but within a different form.Therefore, we conclude that Vakhtang Lemonjava’s statement: “We discussed the legalisation of land; it was important to continue the process we started. But, unfortunately, the process of registering the entire property of the population was terminated,” is MOSTLY FALSE.