The Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Sozar Subari, commented upon the issue of providing IDPs with accommodation: "We have about 263,000 IDPs in Georgia at the moment which constitute up to 85,000 families. During the 22 years of their being IDPs, only 29,000 have been provided with accommodation. Of this number, about 7,000 got their houses in the past 2.5 years. About 6,670 IDPs will get their houses by the end of 2016. In addition, Point D of the 2006 Directive No. 403 of the Government of Georgia, which stated that apartments would not be built for IDPs in Tbilisi, has been abolished. None of the IDPs have gotten accommodation in Tbilisi during the previous two governments, except the ones who took accommodation illegally by their own will. It is for the first time that IDPs will get newly built apartments in Tbilisi. There are 598 apartments which we are buying near Tbilisi Sea."FactCheck
took interest in the issue of the provision of IDPs with accommodation.
The National Strategy on Internally Displaced Persons was adopted on 2 February 2007 by Directive No. 47 of the Government of Georgia. The strategy, among other goals, included the provision of IDPs with accommodation as well.
According to the 13 June 2012 Directive No. 1162 of the Government of Georgia, the action plan for the implementation of the 2012-2014 National Strategy on Internally Displaced Persons was adopted which also provided for the provision of IDPs with long-term accommodation.
In order to look into the issue of the provision of IDPs with long-term accommodation, we requested information from the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. According to the Ministry, a total of 264,630 IDPs are registered in its database at the moment, comprising 87,023 families. As of today, only 29,479 families have been provided with accommodation. A total of 3,120 families have been given their accommodation since 1 October 2012 and currently live in their own apartments. Hence, a total of 26,359 IDP families were given accommodation before 1 October 2012. This number includes those families which have legalised their apartments. A total of 19,149 IDP families have legalised their new homes. In addition, a project entitled House in the Village is being implemented in terms of which the Ministry buys houses along with land plots (inside the limits of GEL 20,000) for IDPs. The IDPs are involved in finding the houses themselves. A total of 292 IDP families have received houses in terms of the aforementioned project.On 25 May 2012, with the goal of rehabilitating houses for IDPs, an agreement
was signed between the Municipal Development Fund of Georgia and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which aimed to rehabilitate ten buildings for IDPs in seven Georgian cities. The value of the project equalled 11,940,101. In terms of the project a former kindergarten (24 apartments) in Marneuli, a former hospital building (134 apartments) in Zestaponi, a former professional college building (40 apartments) in Vani, a former hospital building (44 apartments) in Tskaltubo and a former college building (56 apartments) in Kareli have been rehabilitated. The overall number of apartments equalled 350.
After the new government assumed office, IDPs were given accommodation in Zugdidi (320 apartments), Kutaisi (109 apartments), Zestaponi (134 apartments), Rustavi (66 apartments) and Kaspi (113 apartments).
As of today, a total of 583 apartments (423 in the regions and 160 in Tbilisi) are being rehabilitated throughout Georgia. The construction of new apartment blocks has been started in Kutaisi (160 apartments) and is starting in Zugdidi (144 apartments).
In June 2015, the State Audit Office published its report on the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. In addition, the United National Movement MP, Irma Nadirashvili, made statements about the flaws in the process of providing IDPs with accommodation and possible corruption schemes. She pointed to several objects where the construction work should have been finished in 2013 and 2014. As a result, 500 families are left without homes.In his 29 June 2015 interview with Kviris Palitra,
the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Sozar Subari, stated that there, indeed, are problems with the buildings in Gori, Kutaisi and Vaziani; namely, the rehabilitation of the former hospital building in Gori was poorly implemented with the value of the rehabilitation work inspected at a much lower level than initially planned which resulted in a collapse of the building. The same situation is in Vaziani where inspection determined that the integrity of the building is in doubt. In Kutaisi, as another example, the building which previously housed a local enterprise was to have been turned into a residential block. According to the Minister, however, this initiative was doomed to fail from the very start as it was impossible to turn this building into a proper accommodation. This “doomed to fail” attempt cost the state GEL 450,000. NBJ Ltd and New Construction Ltd, in charge of the aforementioned construction work, are on the State Procurement Agency’s so-called black list. More than one contractor has had problems with these companies for not adequately fulfilling the requirements of their agreements.
On 26 June 2015, the State Audit Office published its report on the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia. As the auditor, Zurab Maisuradze, stated, several violations and flaws were observed during the audit of the work done by the Ministry from 2011 to 2013. According to the State Audit Office, its findings indicate the existence of crimes committed inside the system and, hence, this information has been sent to a law enforcement institution for further response.
As for constructing new apartment blocks for IDPs in Tbilisi, according to the 13 June 2012 Directive No. 1162 of the Government of Georgia, no apartment blocks have been built for IDPs in Tbilisi. The 15 March 2013 Directive No. 240 of the Government of Georgia changed the approach to the issue and the ban on constructing apartments for IDPs in Tbilisi was abolished. On 14 November 2014, an agreement of mutual cooperation was signed between the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Sozar Subari, and the Director General of the joint stock company, Hualing International Special Economic Zone, Siaoshin Shao. The agreement provides for the purchase of three multi-story apartment blocks near Tbilisi Sea, providing accommodation for 218 IDP families. The cooperation will continue in the future as well and a total of 598 apartments will be purchased. The value of the first stage of the project is about GEL 13 million. According to the agreement, the Ministry will receive the apartment blocks in August 2015, after the European Youth Olympic Festival is concluded in Tbilisi.FactCheck
took interest in the sums of money spent for the construction and rehabilitation of accommodation for IDPs by year:
Money Spent for the Construction and Rehabilitation of Accommodation for IDPs from 2010 to 2014 (GEL million)
As the table makes clear, the maximum amount of money for the construction and rehabilitation of accommodation for IDPs was spent in 2011. This amount decreased in 2012 and increased again in 2013 and 2014.
A total of 264,630 IDPs are currently registered in the database of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, comprising 87,023 families. Of this number, 29,479 families have been provided with accommodation (this includes those provided with accommodation as well as those who legalised their new homes). A total of 3,120 families have been given accommodation since 1 October 2012. Hence, about 26,359 IDP families were given accommodation before 1 October 2012. Consequently, about 1,198 families a year were given accommodation before the Georgian Dream coalition assumed office whilst after 1 October 2012 this number increased up to 1,284 a year in the past two-and-a-half years. As we can see, the number of IDP families provided with accommodation annually has increased slightly. Overall, only one-third of IDP families have received apartments in 22 years.
In his statement, Sozar Subari confuses the number of IDPs and the number of IDP families. In the first part he gives the statistics for IDPs provided with accommodation by families (29,000) whilst in the second part, he gives the actual number of IDPs (7,000 persons, 3,120 families). As for the last part of the Minister’s statement that apartment blocks for IDPs were not being built in Tbilisi and the appropriate point of the governmental directive changed after the new government assumed office, it is correct.FactCheck concludes that Sozar Subari’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.