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On 11 September 2014, in terms of FactCheck’s new Check Your Fact service, our reader, Tsotne Giorgadze, asked us to verify the accuracy of a statement made by the Minister of Finance of Georgia, Nodar Khaduri.

On 10 September 2014, the Minister of Finance of Georgia stated: “No particularly high bonuses have been distributed in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia.”

FactCheck took interest in this statement and verified its accuracy.

FactCheck has already published several articles about the issue of bonuses (See Links 1 and 2); concerning the issue of bonuses in the Prosecutor’s Office in particular, however, we looked into the public information received from the Prosecutor’s Office by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

About the bonuses in 2013 and the first six months of 2014, the data obtained by the IDFI show that the officials of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia have received a total of GEL 1,642,027 in bonuses in 2013 whilst this figure is GEL 852,731 for the first half of 2014. The Prosecutor’s Office does not publish the amounts of money given as bonuses individually to officials (by their name and surname). As for other employees of the Prosecutor’s Office, they received a total of GEL 4,254,830 in bonuses in 2013 whilst this figure is GEL 3,114,115 for the first six months of 2014.

In general, the statistics of bonuses distributed to the officials and other employees of the Prosecutor’s Office in 2012, 2013 and 2014 look like this:

As a response to these data the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia published the following statement:

“A total of 827 people, including 50 officials, 392 prosecutors, 84 investigators, 18 interns, 283 specialists, advisors and support staff, are employed by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. The amount of the average monthly bonus for an official equals GEL 2,842 based upon the data of the first half of 2014. The highest one-time bonus granted to an official equals GEL 7,530.

The overall amount of bonuses for ordinary employees of the Prosecutor’s Office depends upon the growth in their number in 2014 (the number of employees was 664 in 2012 whilst in 2013 it was up to 721). The amount of the average monthly bonus for an ordinary employee of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia (prosecutor, investigator or intern) equals GEL 1,050 based upon the data of the first six months of 2014. The highest one-time bonus granted to an ordinary employee amounts to GEL 5,215.”

We compared the data about the bonuses in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia to those of other state structures. A total of GEL 1,642,027 of bonuses was distributed to the officials of the Prosecutor’s Office which is a monthly average of GEL 2,736. A total of GEL 1,325,776 was distributed to 108 officials of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia in 2013 with the monthly average amounting to GEL 1,022. The Ministry of Justice of Georgia distributed a total of GEL 1,070,738 to 44 officials which is GEL 2,027 per month. As we can see, the average monthly bonus for the officials of the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in 2013 was GEL 1,700 more than in the Ministry of Defence and GEL 700 more than in the Ministry of Justice.

For further clarity, FactCheck took interest in the bonuses given to the officials individually (by name and surname) and addressed the Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office confirmed receiving our letter on 19 September 2014; however, despite numerous attempts, we were unable to get an answer. Hence, the questions remain unanswered which raises doubts that the Prosecutor’s Office intentionally refrains from publishing certain information.

Conclusion

As the statistics show, more bonuses were distributed in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in 2013 and the first half of 2014 than in 2012. The Prosecutor’s Office explains the growth of bonuses by the increased number of employees. We tried to find out the amount of bonuses granted to the officials individually (by name and surname) but the Prosecutor’s Office did not provide the requested data.

Based upon the information gathered by us, we can definitely say that the amount of bonuses distributed in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in 2013 is, indeed, high which is confirmed by the comparison to the amount of bonuses distributed in other state structures.

We would like to remark that FactCheck welcomes the use of incentives for successful employees of state structures and is definitely not against the idea of distributing bonuses. However, the transparency and openness of the state structures is also of an exceptional importance to us and these values were neglected by the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia in the given case.

FactCheck concludes that Nodar Khaduri’s statement: “No particularly high bonuses have been distributed in the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia,” is MOSTLY FALSE.


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