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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Georgia: Culture Ministry relieves Gaga Chkheidze for “misuse of funds”, “potential nepotism”

In Georgia, the Culture Ministry has relieved Gaga Chkheidze, the Director of the Georgian National Film Centre (GNFC), on Monday for "misuse of money" and "potential cases of nepotism", according to the state body.

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In Georgia, the Culture Ministry has relieved Gaga Chkheidze, the Director of the Georgian National Film Centre (GNFC), on Monday for “misuse of money” and “potential cases of nepotism”, according to the state body.

According to the Ministry’s release, an investigation of GNFC financials from 2019 to 2020 hadĀ revealed expenditures of financial resources that were “incompatible with the law” throughout that time period.

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Moreover, the culture body alleges “serious flaws” in the financial management system at the state cinema institution, as well as “systematic” infringements of the state law on procurements and the “absence of a system of oversight.”

In addition to other ongoing probes on “other matters” from the report, the Ministry forwarded a report on Chkheidze’s work at the GNFC to the Prosecutor’s Office for “further reaction.”

On Monday, Chkheidze told publika.ge that his dismissal came as a “surprise” and he had not been given access to the report. After reviewing the findings of the investigation, the former GNFC Director told the media outlet he would make further comments.

The First Deputy Minister of Culture, Karlo Sikharulidze, has assumed the role of the Acting Director of the Centre during the transitional period until the new manager of the body is chosen.

Furthermore, on the occasion of the GNFC’s 20th anniversary, Chkheidze stated that the institution needed “institutional and financial strengthening” and defended the institution againstĀ “recent criticism in media outlets.”

Whilst arguing abolishing the Centre would result in “a failure of the Georgian cinema industry”, Chkheidze acknowledged the areas the body required to address. A “radical” increase in its annual financial plan – currently “completely inadequate for the rising needs of the film sector” – and a launch of physical infrastructure for the GNFC was named in the post as the principal needs.

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