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At the plenary session held on 15 May 2013, Vakhtang Lemonjava, MP from the United National Movement from the Chkhorotsku District, talked about the financial irregularities which were revealed under the Supporting Spring Works of Farmers with Scanty Lands governmental project. According to him, problems occurred with private entrepreneurs “who lined up at the Ministry of Agriculture to register themselves in the programme and brought the agricultural inventories to their stores which were then available for purchase by farmers using the GEL 300 vouchers; some stores had a doubled price of their inventories...”

FactCheck

wondered about the accuracy of the facts given in the MP’s statement and checked whether or not the entrepreneurs artificially raised the price of agricultural inventories.

According to the information by the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, the Supporting Spring Works of Farmers with Scanty Lands governmental project provided  farmers across the country with nominal agricultural cards which could be used for purchasing agricultural goods and inventories up until 1 August 2013. The Agricultural Projects Management Agency signed a cooperation agreement with up to 700 stores of agricultural commodities and equipment suppliers. In addition, the farmers regardless of their place of residence could use their cards to purchase agricultural commodities and inventories in the stores included on the list of participating places of business.

Fifteen special monitoring groups were formed at the Agricultural Projects Management Agency in order to prevent deficiencies regarding the use of the cards and discover irregularities within the project. The monitoring groups perform checks on the participating agricultural stores across the country on a daily basis.

According to the official data by the Ministry of Agriculture, as of 29 May 2013 monitoring groups fined 129 agricultural stores across the country with penalties of GEL 500 on charges of artificially raising the prices of the inventories. Information provided by the Ministry of Agriculture confirms that the entrepreneurs were in fact artificially raising prices of agricultural inventories and financial irregularities were revealed.

Conclusion MP Vakhtang Lemonjava pointed out that financial irregularities were revealed under the programme of the Ministry of Agriculture in the form of artificially raised prices on agricultural inventories. Information of the Ministry of Agriculture also confirms this. Moreover, these violations were followed by the fining of 129 agricultural stores by the Agency. Therefore, we rate the statement of Vakhtang Lemonjava  as TRUE.