Mirtskhulava’s case goes to court

The Messenger, Georgia
Nov. 3, 2004

Mirtskhulava’s case goes to court
By M. Alkhazashvili

On November 3, the district court of Krtsanisi-Mtatsminda will begin
hearing the case of the former Minister of Energy David Mirtskhulava,
who is accused of overestimating his duties, which seriously damaged
the country economically, and could face twelve years imprisonment if
he is found guilty.

Mirtskhulava is the first high ranking official from the Shevardnadze
administration whose case has come to court, as all those others who
have been charged by the General Prosecutor’s Office have preferred to
pay money for their freedom. Mirtskhulava, however, protests his
innocence, adding that he does not have enough money to buy his way out
of jail.

The case revolves around a contract agreed with Armenergo during the
period when Mirtskhulava was Minister of Energy, which the
investigation claims is one-sided and artificially increased Georgian
Railway’s debt to Armenergo from USD 4 million to USD 6 million.

The investigation says that Mirtskhulava agreed to this in return for
certain benefits – namely, helping mediator company
Energomanqkorporatsia to embezzle 90 percent of the USD 6 million
transmitted from Georgian Railway. Georgia still had to pay the debt as
a result of the one-sided contract Mirtskhulava had signed.

The newspaper Kviris Palitra reports that the investigation also
accuses the former minister of taking secret materials relating to
Georgia-Armenia criminal relationships from the Energy Ministry and
hiding them in the office of the National Regulation Commission.

The prosecution has been working on the charges against Mirtskhulava
for ten days but the court will have to clarify many ambiguous facts as
well, including who stands behind the disputable crimes committed by

The former minister declares himself to be innocent and says that the
contract has not damaged the country, but, on the contrary has brought
the country some USD 500,000, although this is disputed by the

Mirtskhulava is currently being detained in the Republic Prison
Hospital. During his imprisonment his health condition has seriously
deteriorated. His lawyer Eka Beselia say that Mirtskhulava will appeal
to the European Court for Human Rights in Strasburg if the court finds
him guilty.