On December 21, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia presented a report to the Parliament, including on reforms implemented in the ministry and plans for the upcoming year.
The Interior Minister noted that as of today all patrol police officers are equipped with body-worn cameras.
He also announced that by the end of 2019 approximately 5,000 traffic monitoring cameras will be operational, covering a total of 700 kilometers of road.
The Minister also pledged to continue increasing police officers’ salaries and benefits in 2019. The benefits scheme will expand and involve housing, medical and educational components.
According to Gakharia, more than 200 persons were imprisoned following the adoption of the bill on aiding the “criminal underworld”, which was initiated by the Interior Ministry.
On the Khorava street murder case, Gakharia said the opposition has been politicizing and speculating with the incident. He also slammed the work of the opposition-led parliamentary commission, saying “it was mandated to identify whether there were offenses committed by public servants in the investigation, but the commission failed to do it.”
“In my personal opinion, some investigative measures that had to be implemented were missing, but you failed to confirm that these measures were deliberately absent, and that it affected the final result of the investigation,” he added.
Gakharia also commented on the arrest of the United National Movement’s Davit Kirkitadze over the inauguration day protest, saying attacks on police officers “will always have adequate response.”
“Some opposition members announced a day before that the Presidential inauguration would be disrupted and attacked police officers on the inauguration day… this was a political act… and when one has a desire to carry out a revolution, he/she has to have the necessary courage to spend time in jail,” he added.
Later in the Q&A, Gakharia noted that “it was right to throw Kirkitadze in jail, and that everyone who will deserve it will also be thrown to jail.”
The Minister touched upon the vote stuffing allegations as well. Gakharia announced that the Prosecutor’s Office will launch a probe into the accusations.
The Parliamentary hearing lasted for almost seven hours. Opposition lawmakers slammed the Interior Minister’s report, saying they did not receive answers to their questions.
“We actually did not receive any answers to our questions; the Minister staged a political show in the Parliament,” said MP Tina Bokuchava of the United National Movement.
MP Sergi Kapanadze of the European Georgia echoed the sentiments, saying the Minister “failed to respond to practically every question,” and that he left “a very grave impression.’
“He straightforwardly justified political persecution,” Kapanadze added.
Georgian Dream lawmakers welcomed Gakharia’s report, thanking the Minister for his “principled” work, and reform achievements.
“That the Minister reported to the Parliament for the second time and expressed readiness to have active communication with us is very important,” MP Dimitri Tskitishvili noted.
With its December 21 sitting, the Parliament closed its autumn session.