On 14 May 2014 during his speech at the parliamentary session, United National Movement MP, Giorgi Tevdoradze, said: “The numbers which we’ve seen as bonuses in the Penitentiary Department in December surpass any kind of criteria. A particular person gets GEL 39,000 as a wage, supplement or a bonus.” Later, United National Movement MP, Irma Nadirashvili, also announced, that an employee of the Penitentiary Department, Vladimer Bunturidze, received GEL 38,000 as a bonus.FactCheck
took interest in the statements of United National Movement MPs and verified their accuracy.The United National Movement issued a document about bonuses in the Penitentiary Department. According to the document, in December alone GEL 787,615 was awarded as bonuses. To check the accuracy of the information, FactCheck first of all looked into public information published by the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia. At the end of each quarter, the Ministry proactively publishes information about salaries, supplements and bonuses. According to Ministry’s information, the bonuses awarded in the 4th quarter of 2013 were 8.6 times more than in the 1st, 3.5 times more than in the 2nd and 2.5 times more than in the 3rd quarter of the same year. The final sum of the bonuses awarded in the 4th
quarter of 2013 equalled to GEL 1,042,690.In total, GEL 129,365 of the bonuses was awarded to high-ranking officials and the rest to other employees. The high-ranking officials include those officials defined by Article 2 of the Georgian Law on Conflicts of Interest and Corruption in the Public Sector and by Article 8 of Directive No.22 of 14 January 2010 of the President of Georgia. From the list provided published by the United National Movement at least four people (Vladimer Bunturidze, Simon Machaidze, Gogi Gakharia, Shalva Turadze) are high-ranking officials since they are deputy heads of the Penitentiary Department. According to the list, the bonuses received by these four people alone in December 2013 amount to GEL 147,519 which is more than the amount allocated by the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia for all high-ranking officials. It should be noted that the number published by the Ministry includes the bonuses received by the officials of other departments not only in December but in the whole of the 4th
quarter of the year. Clearly, the numbers published by the United National Movement and the Ministry of Corrections are substantially different.
As for Vladimer Bunturidze in particular, he is a Deputy Head of the Penitentiary Department of the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia in the fields of security and escort. He is a deputy of a structural subdivision of the Ministry and, hence, an official. Accordingly, if the information published on the website of the Ministry is to be trusted, the bonus for Bunturidze should have been assigned from the overall sum of GEL 129,365 allocated for Ministry officials.In order to determine what exact amount was spent for bonuses and paid to Vladimer Bunturidze we addressed the Ministry’s Bureau of Public Information Distribution. The letter that we received from the Ministry examined in detail the wages of all Ministry officials, however it did not include the bonuses awarded in the Penitentiary Department. FactCheck
contacted the Ministry’s Bureau once more asking for more detailed information. Despite the fact that the letter asking for detailed information was sent on 19 May, the Ministry’s response is that the information is still being processed some two months later.As it did not receive detailed information from the Ministry, FactCheck
examined the property declaration of Vladimer Bunturidze. According to the declaration, the wage received from the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia is only GEL 2,670. Further, according to the declaration, Bunturidze has USD 38,000 in his TBC Bank account and GEL 4,500 in Bank Republic account. In 2013, he loaned USD 39,000 from TBC Bank and GEL 5,000 from Bank Republic. In addition, in 2013, he acquired real estate of a value of USD 107,000. As we see, the property declaration does not show Bunturidze receiving a bonus.
Despite the fact, that we can not verify the amount of bonuses awarded in the Ministry of Corrections, even government officials have commented, that the amount is very high. The Minister of Corrections of Georgia, Sozar Subari, made a statement about the unusually high amount of bonuses awarded in his Ministry. According to him: ‘The amount of bonuses awarded in the Penitentiary Department is absolutely unjustified. This Department is a subordinate entity of the Ministry which means that it has its own budget and the Head of the Department, Dimitri Darbaiseli, makes decisions about the bonuses.” The Minister also clarified that he had no information about these bonuses in the Penitentiary Department.Later, on 23 May, Dimitri Darbaiseli as the Head of the Penitentiary Department resigned. He also issued a statement about his resignation and took full blame for the high amount of bonuses awarded in his Department. Even though FactCheck
was unable to receive detailed information from the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia, we can say that the officials of the Ministry, by their statements and actions, verified the high amounts of bonuses awarded in their Ministry.
Conclusion According to the data published by the Ministry of Corrections of Georgia, GEL 1,042,690 was spent on bonuses in the 4th quarter of 2013. According to the United National Movement, however, officials of the Penitentiary Department of the Ministry received GEL 787,615 as bonuses. The data published by the opposition party does not correspond to the numbers given in the property declarations of Ministry officials. It should be noted, however, that the Ministry did not provide FactCheck
with the requested information about the bonuses. Despite this, the statements and actions of the Minister of Corrections of Georgia, Sozar Subari; the Head of the Ministry’s Penitentiary Department, Dimitri Darbaiseli, and other officials verify that unusually high amounts of bonuses were received by Ministry officials.We conclude that Giorgi Tevdoradze’s statement “The numbers which we’ve seen as bonuses in the Penitentiary Department in December surpass any kind of criteria. One particular person gets GEL 39,000 as a wage, supplement or a bonus,” is TRUE.