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Sokhumi Rules Void Sale of Historic HPP Owned by Opposition Leader

Abkhaz “supreme court” has ruled to void privatization of historic Besleti hydro-powerplant, owned by opposition leader and newly elected lawmaker Kan Kvarchia. The decision can be appealed with the cassation board for administrative cases.

The court on March 11 sided with the prosecution that had argued that normative acts issued by the previous administration in spring 2020 on allowing the privatization of first-ever HPP in Abkhazia, contravened Abkhaz laws on cultural heritage and electric energy.

The court revoked two decrees issued by ‘the cabinet of ministers’ in March and April 2020 on the Beslet HPP and on allowing it to be listed among objects subject to privatization. A legislative assembly’s normative act that approved the list in June 2020 was also declared void.

Notably, the prosecution in its December statement maintained the state-owned site, built in 1908, was sold without the consent of the Abkhaz legislature, in defiance with the legal requirements. The court, however, listed as void the legislative approval, which the prosecution claimed did not exist.

It is not clear immediately on what grounds the court revoked the lawmakers’ approval on privatization.

Back in December, when the controversy came to the political limelight, Kvarchia, who had acquired the power-plant for 4 million rubles (USD 54 thousand), accused the prosecution of “carrying out political orders.”

The opposition politician said all legal procedures were observed and the bidding was made public, including through media.

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