Technological innovation is normally associated with progress. But for potentially hundreds of property owners in Georgia, the digitization of land registration records has turned into a nightmare.
A yearlong national investigation by a coalition of non-governmental organizations, headed by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International Georgia, has revealed instances of vanishing property titles. In some cases, what was once clearly documented as private property somehow during the digitization process ended up in the state’s hands.
The mysterious changes in land titles seem to be most prevalent in the Black Sea region of Achara and the northwestern alpine region of Svaneti. Both regions, coincidentally, are home to big development projects being pushed by President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration.
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Molly Corso is a freelance journalist who also works as editor of Investor.ge, a monthly publication by the American Chamber of Commerce in Georgia.