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Komagi Foundation: A Worrying Game-Changer for Georgia

Chroniques - English paper

konagi-georgie-ivanishvili-corruption-transparency-internationalA new foundation has broken onto the political scene in Georgia, called the Komagi Foundation. This charity aims to financially support the "victims of political repression," although many believe that this new group is in fact just another one of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s stunts to gain votes.

Many NGOs are concerned about the emergence of the Komagi Foundation on the Georgian scene.

Transparency International, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, and the Free Choice Coalition are alarmed that this charity has the power to influence voters in favour of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Franco-Georgian multi-billionaire, and head of the “Georgian Dream” political party.

The Komagi Foundation indeed offers substantial financial support (between 1500 and 5000 Georgian Laris per case, per month!), as well as free lawyers and reimbursement for medical costs incurred by anyone claiming to be a "victim of political repression." Sozar Subari, one of the most influential members of the "Georgian Dream", has himself clarified the responsibilities of the charity, not hiding any links between Bidzina Ivanishvili's party and Komagi Foundation.

Vano Chkhartishvili, a wealthy expatriate affiliated with the "Georgian Dream", makes payments from offshore accounts to Georgian citizens who are recognized by the Komagi Foundation as "victims of political repression". This is just one more tool that Ivanishvili’s team has come up with to work their way around the illegalities of vote-buying.

Ivanishvili’s biggest problem in this race has been that Georgian law prohibits political parties to buy votes via money or benefits. The Department of Justice and NGOs are therefore concerned that this charity does in fact serve only to secure the illegal support of many Georgian citizens by paying them handsomely. So far, members of the "Georgia Dream" continue to deny breaking the law. However, the country is now under the intense supervision of international NGOs, who will hopefully put a stop to this absurd abuse of democracy.

 

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