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National Communications Commission – the Wealthiest State Body

The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) is the wealthiest state body in Georgia, the Young Barristers nonprofit organization asserts that has published a report on monitoring of the GNCC activities. According to the report, GNCC is Georgia’s wealthiest state body that is not financed from the state budget, but it collects colossal funds from payments of regulatory fees in the communications and broadcasting sector. According to the preliminary report, the 2014 revenues marked 4 815 534 GEL.

Nino Isakadze, a defense lawyer for the Young Barristers, says the organization has analyzed wages and bonuses of the GNCC members and the GNCC chairman. According to the requested information, the GNCC Chairman’s monthly salary makes up 13 312 GEL, while GNCC members take 12 648 GEL a month.

The organization has publicized information on salaries and bonuses of Irakli Chikovani, an ex chairman of GNCC (up to April 2013), and Vakhtang Abashidze, a current chairman of GNCC. The information also reveals revenues of GNCC members Sopio Britanchuk, Akaki Sikharulidze, Irakli Moseshvili and Kakhi Bekauri. The report covers not only the 2014 period”, Isakadze said.

Since April 16, 2014 GNCC Chairman Vakhtang Abashidze has taken bonuses of 23 966.16 GEL as of August 1, 2014. Irakli Chikovani, the GNCC chairman in 2009-2013, received revenues of 235 221.84 GEL in 2012, including 168 595.04 GEL in salaries and 66 626.80 GEL in bonuses.

GNCC member Sopio Britanchuk has taken 247 908.78 GEL revenues in 2013, including salaries of 151 783.18 GEL and bonuses of 96 125.60 GEL.

Akaki Sikharulidze has taken 196 549.31 GEL in 2012, including 151 796.11 GEL in salaries and 44 753.20 GEL in bonuses.

Irakli Moseshvili has received 247 908.78 GEL in 2013, including salaries of 151 783.18 GEL and bonuses of 96 125.60 GEL.

Kakhi Bekauri has taken 42 057.96 GEL bonuses as of August 1, 2014.

The Young Barristers has also requested information on salaries, bonuses and allowances of heads of eight structural departments, but GNCC has not issued information. Under the legislation, the mentioned information may be publicized by consent of those heads, but GNCC asserts despite multiple efforts those officials have not given such consent.

The Young Barristers urge the Georgian President and the Parliament to show a position of principles towards GNCC, because there are serious questions concerning the GNCC efficiency and fulfillment of legal obligations. GNCC fails to cope with the four main tasks and goals: prevention of monopolistic activity in the field of electronic communications and broadcasting, creating equal and just competitive environment, attracting modern technologies, providing active cooperation with international organizations to this end and protection of legal rights of consumers. GNCC influence and monitoring for creating antitrust regulations and competitive market are only of symbolic character.

According to the Young Barristers, the legislation determines GNCC as a legal entity of public law and a constant independent state body that is liable to submit a report on its activities to the President and the Parliament, but public discussions and even new legislative regulations may be introduced to increase the GNCC accountability, because its revenues come from payments by authorized bodies and licensees in the electronic communications and broadcasting field and these payments should serve the consumer rights and interests and GNCC must provide the environment commensurate to these payments,” Nino Isakadze said.