Gela Abuladze, the For Georgia party member of the Tsalenjikha Municipal Council, who was detained by the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) on fraud charges in March was freed by the Tbilisi City Court’s ruling on 8 September according to the For Georgia party.
In its judgment, the Court decided to side with the defense’s argument that there was no basis on which Abuladze should be kept in custody.
Abuladze was accused of conspiring with an employee of the Tsalenjikha Mayor’s office to fraudulently register nine state-owned plots of land – totaling 100,083 square meters and worth GEL 406,250 (USD 142,805) – into private ownership of Abuladze’s relatives and acquaintances. The investigation had been led under Article 180 (2a, 3b) of Georgia’s Criminal Code referring to fraud committed by more than one person with a preliminary agreement in large quantities and under Article 341 – forgery by an official envisaging imprisonment from 6 to 9 years.
At the time of his arrest, ex-prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s party saw it as politically motivated. MP Mikheil Daushvili of For Georgia claimed at a press briefing after Abuladze’s arrest that the Anti-Corruption Agency had launched the investigation into the case ahead of municipal elections, to “pressure Gela Abuladze and his family members.”
Abuladze was elected in the October 2021 polls to the Tsalenjikha Local Council in Georgia’s western Samegrelo region, which emerged as one of a handful of opposition-led Municipal Councils after the bitterly-contested elections.