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On 26 July 2014, at the plenary session of the Parliament, the member of the Parliamentary Majority, Zurab Tkemaladze, addressed the Parliamentary Minority MP, Giorgi Tevdoradze. He stated that Mr Tevdoradze, when holding the position of the Mayor of Kutaisi, signed a document according to which the construction of the new Parliament building would cost GEL 1.6 million. Tkemaladze said that Tevdoradze amended the aforementioned document seven times before the sum reached GEL 200 million. The final cost of the construction, however, was GEL 360 million.

FactCheck

took interest in Mr Tkemeladze’s statement and verified its accuracy.

FactCheck wrote

about the Kutaisi Parliament building earlier as well. The detailed analysis of the amount of money spent on the construction of the Kutaisi Parliament is available on the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) website. Their study is based upon the public information requested from the Ministry of Finance of Georgia and the State Service Bureau Ltd. In 2009-2010, the Kutaisi City Hall was an official contractor of the construction of the Parliament of Georgia building near the Memorial of Glory. According to the 9 December 2009 Directive No. 915 of the Government of Georgia, GEL 5 million was allocated from the Regional Projects Fund to the Kutaisi City Hall for creating the new Parliament building construction project, dismantling any buildings at the construction site and conducting geological studies. On 11 December 2014, the total amount was transferred to the Kutaisi Local Government Service. In order to carry out the construction work in the shortest possible time the state purchases would be conducted through negotiations with only one person. According to the 30 March 2010 No. 1,618 Directive of the Government of Georgia, GEL 42 million was allocated to the Kutaisi City Hall for creating the new Parliament building construction project, hiring construction experts and other urgent expenses. The money was transferred in stages. According to the 10 August 2010 No. 1,047 Directive of the Government of Georgia, EUR 11,050,000 (GEL 26,775,300) was allocated to the Kutaisi City Hall for the same purposes. A lump sum transfer was made to the Kutaisi Local Government Service.

The Ministry of Finance transferred the overall amount of GEL 73,775,300 from the Regional Projects Fund to Kutaisi City Hall in 2009-2010.

For more detailed information about the construction costs of the Parliament building FactCheck

contacted Kutaisi City Hall. From the GEL 5 million transferred to the City Hall on 11 December 2009 only GEL 200,000 was actually spent and the remaining sum was moved to the 2010 annual budget. The money allocated for the construction of the new Parliament building in 2009 and 2010 was transferred from the state budget. The Kutaisi City Council made a total of five amendments to the approved budget of the new Parliament building construction.

Of the GEL 73,775,300 transferred to Kutaisi City Hall in 2009 and 2010, GEL 63,826,800 was actually spent on the construction of the Parliament building.

At the suggestion of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the state established State Service Bureau Ltd was determined as the contractor of the new Parliament construction from 2011. The amount of money spent on the construction of the Parliament building from the state budget of Georgia from 2009 to 2012 is equal to GEL 144,375,300; however, the actual amount of money spent on the construction is much larger than the sums transferred from the state budget. The IDFI’s study found that the budgetary funds were not enough for the construction. The State Service Bureau Ltd transferred GEL 216,470,114 to Meno International Ltd. This is three times more than the amount of money received by the State Service Bureau Ltd from the Ministry of Finance in 2011 and 2012. It should be pointed out that the State Service Bureau Ltd financed the construction work of the Parliament building by its own capital and increased its capital by selling state-owned properties given to it by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.

The construction of the Kutaisi Parliament building was finished in 2012 and the overall amount of money spent on the construction from 2009 to 2012 was equal to GEL 326,243,038. The detailed analysis of the amount of money spent on the construction of the Kutaisi Parliament is available on the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) website.

Conclusion

According to the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information study and the public information requested from Kutaisi City Hall, the statement of the MP is not accurate. Kutaisi City Hall was in fact a contractor of the Parliament construction; however, Mr Tkemaladze is wrong when talking about the construction costs and budget amendments. The overall amount of money transferred to Kutaisi City Hall amounted to GEL 73,775,300 with only GEL 63,826,800 actually being spent. Hence, the part of Tkemaladze’s statement where he talks about GEL 200 million spent by Kutaisi City Hall is not accurate.

The MP is also not accurate when talking about the document signed by the Mayor of Kutaisi which set the construction costs of the new Parliament at GEL 1.6 million. It should also be noted that according to the IDFI, the overall cost of the Parliament construction, from 2009 to 2012, was equal to GEL 326,243,038. The budgetary sources were not enough to finish the construction and the additional amount of money was only raised after selling the state-owned properties. Hence, the context of Tkemaladze’s statement might be true, but he is wrong in attributing these facts to Kutaisi City Hall.

FactCheck concludes that Zurab Tkemaladze’s statement:  “Mr [Giorgi] Tevdoradze, you confirmed with your signature that the construction of the new Parliament building would cost GEL 1.6 million and then you amended this seven times… you finally gave up when the amount reached GEL 200 million. The final cost of the construction was equal to GEL 360 million,” is HALF TRUE.