Transparency International: Level of perceived corruption in Georgia stable
TBILISI – Georgia ranks 55th in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which measures perceived public sector corruption in 177 countries.
Georgia’s score in the latest edition of the survey is 49 on a scale of 0 (perceived to be most corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be least corrupt). This is a slight deterioration compared to 2012, when Georgia scored 52 (51th rank out of 176 countries).
The perceived level of corruption in Georgia remains higher than in the Baltic states (Estonia is 28th, Lithuania 43rd, Latvia 49th) but it ranks ahead of the EU member states Croatia, Czech Republic (both 57th), Slovakia (61), Italy, Romania (both 69), Bulgaria (77) and Greece (80). Turkey ranks 53rd, just ahead of Georgia; Armenia is 94th, Russia and Azerbaijan share rank 127.
The countries with the lowest perceived corruption in 2013 are Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Singapore. The countries perceived as most corrupt are Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.
Since coming to power in October 2012, the Georgian Dream-led government has advanced anti-corruption reforms in some areas, including through expanding the scope of public officials’ asset declarations and by publishing directly awarded government contracts, including all small purchases, on the e-procurement portal – both are practices where Georgia serves as a best-practice case world wide. The government has also, although carefully, pursued reforms to pro-actively release more public data online and has improved the responsiveness to Freedom of Information requests.
At the same time, several high-level representatives of the government have made ambiguous statements about nepotistic hiring practices in the public sector; in the past year, the State Audit Office has done little to scrutinize ongoing government spending. So far, little progress has been made in drafting a new Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan for the coming years.
In order to strengthen Georgia’s fight against corruption and misuse of power, the authorities should:
Further strengthen the capacity of the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Audit Office, the competition agency, and independent regulatory bodies, and refrain from any undue political interference in the work of these entities while providing them with sufficient resources;
Establish Appropriate democratic oversight over the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ activities and limit the Ministry’s ability to monitor in real-time all telephone and Internet communication in the country should be limited. Strict oversight over the application of electronic communication surveillance is not only important to protect the rights of activists, journalists, lawyers and all other people in Georgia, but also to allow whistleblowers to report problems to reporters or dedicated anti-corruption bodies without having to fear immediate repercussions;
Set up an independent anti-corruption agency tasked with prevention, investigation, and public education;
Strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms and policies of local government bodies, as these entities may be given more autonomy and resources through planned reforms;
Eliminate gaps both in law and in practice that result in government or government-controlled entities to bypass the existing transparent electronic procurement system and to award contracts directly, without a competitive process;
Address the corruption risks arising from the movement of officials between the public and the private sectors and the abuse of public office for the benefit of specific private companies;
Ensure transparent management of Georgia’s defense budget, since defense spending has been a major area of corruption risks in the country for a number of years;
Safeguard the independence of the judiciary in order to ensure its ability to adjudicate corruption-related cases in an impartial manner;
Improve the administrative capabilities and oversight capacity of Parliament, especially over the activities of the Ministry of Interior, including the activity of law enforcement and investigation bodies.
About the CPI:
The CPI scores and ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. To generate the CPI score for each country, Transparency International’s Berlin-based Secretariat aggregates data from several surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions.
Georgia’s score in the CPI 2013 is based on data from the following surveys:
- Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index 2014 (http://www.bti-project.org/index/)
- World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment 2012
- World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey (EOS) 2013 (http://www.weforum.org)
- World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2013 (http://worldjusticeproject.org/rule-of-law-index)
- Global Insight Country Risk Ratings (http://www.ihs.com/products/global-insight/country-analysis)
- Freedom House Nations in Transit 2013 (http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/nations-transit/nations-transit-2013)
You can find more material on the CPI, the methodology and past rankings on Transparency International’s site, http://transparency.org/cpi.
Nana Lobzhanidze: firstname.lastname@example.org, 595 210 309.