Aleksandre Kantaria, Majoritarian MP for Isani constituency from the Georgian Dream faction, made a statement at the plenary session of the Parliament held on 15 May 2013: “Tbilisi City Hall has launched an online auction to sell the lands used by residents of Vazisubani (mostly 2nd and 3rd

districts). Most of the residents do not possess an ownership document for the land which they have been using for more than 20 years. There are no constructed buildings on these properties. The land is used by residents for agricultural purposes who grow fruit and vegetables. This is the main source of income for the majority of the land users. The United National Movement was engaging in manipulation with these people for election purposes through promising to register their titles to land properties. Some were given title to their lands but the registration of properties was done selectively.

FactCheck

decided to check the information provided in the statement of Aleksandre Kantaria.

It has been almost 20 years since the residents of Vazisubani have been using unregistered land properties (some of them have been using this land since 1986). Some residents have illegally occupied the land; others received verbal consent from representatives of local self-governments.

The Parliament of Georgia adopted the Law on the Recognition of Property Rights of Individuals and Legal Entities on the Ownership of Land on 11 July 2007 which determined the basic principles and conditions of the recognition of property rights on land by the state. According to the law, individuals and legal entities may request legalisation of their property rights on state-owned lands either legally owned or used or arbitrarily occupied by them in exchange for the payment of certain fees. The Law defines the legal regime for the recognition of each individual's property rights.

The Law was amended on 28 December 2007. These amendments affected those articles which regulate the rule for the recognition of property rights on arbitrarily occupied lands and the amount of fee in exchange for the recognition of property rights.

Parts of land lots are located within the area which is not subject to the recognition of property rights; for instance, routes for cattle drives, water fund, protected areas, recreational parks, forest parks, squares and other areas of nature, etc; historical, cultural and worship-religious monuments, lands for public use and etc. The legalisation of such plots of land is prohibited (Chapter 1, Article 3 of the Law) .

According to some of the residents, they were given title to the land following the submission of all required documents to the relevant court and on the basis of the law and not because of loyalty towards any political parties which granted them the right to acquire the land. However, due to the fact that a large part of the population fails to make statutory payment, they are not able to get title to the land.

According to the Tbilisi City Hall Property Management Agency, up to present ( 5 June 2013) five plots of land located in the Isani District (Vazisubani belongs to the Isani District) are being offered for sale in an online auction.

During his interview with FactCheck,

Zurab Pinaishvili, Chairperson of the Vazisubani Municipality, confirmed that there is an auction for lot #12 which refers to a plot of land arbitrarily occupied by the population.

During the interview, several residents also admitted that they are aware of the online land auction. However, they are not able to confirm this fact due to the lack of information about the auction number and the cadastral code for the lot up for sale.

Conclusion Some residents of Vazisubani are arbitrarily using the land which is not entitled to them due to unpaid fees. One of the plots of land is offered for sale through an online auction. It is possible that several other plots of land have also been sold by this method. Some of the residents were able to get titles to the land. They told us during our interviews that they were able to acquire titles fully in accordance with the law and not because of their loyalty to the UNM or based on selectivity. However, we also note that FactCheck

 has been able to talk to only some and not all residents in the area. Therefore, we cannot exclude that such facts might have also taken place.

We rate the statement by Aleksandre Kantaria: “Tbilisi City Hall has launched an online auction to sell the land being used by residents of Vazisubani ...The United National Movement was engaging in manipulation with these people for election purposes through promising to register their titles to land properties. Some were given title to their lands but the registration of properties was done selectively," HALF TRUE.

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17%
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