Addressing the parliament on December 12, State Minister (equivalent to prime minister) Vazha Lortkipanidze described official corruption in Georgia as a “threat to the very existence of the state. Corruption pervades the state authorities practically at all levels,” he charged. Urging law enforcement agencies to a war against corruption, Lortkipanidze unveiled a government plan to turn customs checkpoints over to “foreign companies with experience in this field” in order to curb contraband and ensure proper revenue collection. The government intends, in effect, to farm out the customs service and intends to conduct an international tender in order to select the contract partners (Russian agencies, December 12).
DESTRUCTION OF KHACHKARS IN NAKHICHEVAN ALLEGED.