(civil) - Lawmakers from the ruling National Movement party said on December 21 they are against of a proposal by the opposition MPs to set up a special commission to probe into alleged abuse of property rights by the authorities.
The opposition lawmakers claim that they are aware of dozens of cases when property owners in Tbilisi were forced to so called voluntarily hand over their office space to the state after pressure from the General Prosecutor's Office. Opposition MP from the Republican Party Davit Berdzenishvili said that legitimate doubts arise about pressure when dozens of owners of restaurants, which are located on Rike area in downtown Tbilisi, hand their property to the state, reports Trend.
Another case, which captured the attention of opposition and media sources recently, involves Jacob Shamatava who said on December 19 that the prosecutors were intimidating him to hand over to the state his plot of land in the suburb of Tbilisi, near an area where the U.S. Embassy is located, otherwise threatened to arrest him.
Shamatava made this statement at a joint news conference with an opposition lawmaker Kakha Kukava from the Conservative Party. Next day he was arrested and accused of fabricating documentations through which he managed to obtained ownership rights over the disputed plot of land. But Shamatava claims that he legally privatized the plot of land which previously was leased by his grandfather.
This is not a single case of expropriation of property by the authoritiesвЂ¦ Shamatava was punished and arrested just because he publicly spoke out against the pressure which was mounted on him by the General Prosecutor's Office, MP Kakha Kukava said at the parliamentary session on December 21.
Key lawmakers from the ruling National Movement party admitted that the investigation by the law enforcement agencies have been launched into cases of illegal privatizations.
MP Giga Bokeria from the ruling party said that there are cases when illegal privatizations were carried out through direct involvement of some of the mid and low-rank officials and investigations were launched to reveal their wrongdoings.
MP Levan Bezhashvili from the ruling party, who chairs parliamentary committee for legal affairs, said that he looked into the documentations involving those privatization cases which are currently probed by the law enforcers. And I can say that these privatizations were really carried out through violation of law, he added.
Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said that property rights should be protected, but if there are facts of illegal privatization, the state should react appropriately.
MP Giga Bokeria also said that no one should have an illusion that those who have illegally privatized property will be able to avoid legal persecution if they secure support from the opposition, apparently referring to Shamatava's case.
By saying this you are telling your potential targets to give up their property without even trying to speak out, otherwise neither opposition, nor anyone else will help you, MP Davit Berdzenishvili of the opposition Republican Party, told the ruling majority.