On October 1, Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), the regulatory body overseeing broadcasting and electronic communications, appointed a special manager to Caucasus Online, one of the leading communications companies in Georgia.
The Commission appointed Mariam Sulaberidze, currently director of state-sponsored program Open Net and former employee of GNCC, as the special manager to the company.
Sulaberidze is tasked with reversing the 2019 sale of the company’s 49% shares to Azerbaijan’s NEQSOL Holding, a deal that GNCC deemed to be illegal its ruling on October 17, 2019. The Commission noted that Caucasus Online did not abide by the ruling demanding that the shares should be returned to the original owner, despite “being fined six times during one year.”
The appointee will be able to appoint/dismiss company director, members of the supervisory boards, and regular employees; to suspend or restrict the company’s rights to distribute profits, dividends, bonuses or make changes to salaries; to file a lawsuit in court against the contracts or deals made a year before her appointment and demand their annulment.
According to the statement, GNCC was also entitled to terminate the company’s authorization to operate, however, decided otherwise, to avoid causing problems to more than 2.5 million users and to preserve the competitiveness of the telecommunications market.
GNCC is authorized to appoint special managers to companies after the Parliament endorsed controversial amendments to Law on Electronic Communications on July 17, which triggered criticism from CSOs and telecommunication companies alike.