Developments around TBC Bank recently have brought into question the fate of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port project. Although the government officials have said the project was not imperiled, their recent statements have been ambiguous. Below is what they have said about the project recently:
Anaklia Deep Sea Port is a USD 2.5 billion investment project on the Black Sea coast where TBC’s founder Mamuka Khazaradze is the leading partner.
The Anaklia Developmen Consortium, a joint venture of Khazaradze’s TBC Holding and U.S.-based Conti International was awarded the contract to build and operate the port in 2016; construction works commenced in December 2017.
Mamuka Khazaradze and his deputy Badri Japaridze were forced to step down from TBC Bank Board of Supervisors last month, after the National Bank of Georgia and the Prosecution leveled accusations of “actions contradicting the conflict of interest legislation” in one of the transactions dating back to 2008.
Khazaradze insists lack of clarity around TBC Bank is impeding finalizing of the agreements on funding the Anaklia project.
GD Political Secretary Irakli Garibashvili (March 5): “When it comes to Anaklia Port, the first question I have is – three years have passed, as I remember they [TBC Holding] won the tender in 2016. Why is the timeline not respected, why is the port not being built? Was there some problem with getting the financing on time? Or maybe simply it was not a bankable project. I do not know, experts shall look into that. […] Three years have passed, is the Port built? I am asking, is it built? No.”
Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia (March 6): “As Vice Prime Minister and former Minister of Economy, I understand very well the importance of the deep sea port project for the Georgian economy. As Interior Minister, I am also well aware of its critical significance for Georgia’s security architecture. The Anaklia project is the future of this country in the context of its security and economy; [but] no one will be able to avoid honoring their obligations by peddling conspiracy theories, scandals and gossips.”
Majority leader Archil Talakvadze (March 6): “The Anaklia deep sea port is one of the most important projects for Georgian economy and security. The authorities have been sparing no efforts to bring the project to completion and will do so in the future, regardless of what personal attitudes and private interests some individuals might have regarding the project.”
Economy Minister Giorgi Kobulia (March 7): “The negative environment that has been created around Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze makes it harder for private investors to raise the minimum amount of money that is required for moving forward with the project. But fundraising for the project has been difficult for quite some time before these processes began. [The government is delaying to fulfil its obligations] simply because private investors have not raised their share of minimal capital. We will fulfill all of our obligations, once we see that the minimal amount of private investment is collected and once we see that there is an agreement from [international] financial institutions on funding.”