Parliament must continue discussing initiative concerning National Anti-Corruption Agency
The Legal Issues Committee has deemed inexpedient the consideration by the Parliament of the Tenth Convocation of the legislative package concerning Anti-Corruption Agency initiated by the previous Parliament. Such attitude is particularly alarming against the background of the challenges currently facing Georgia in the sphere of anti-corruption policy.
According to the Rules of Procedure, within four months after the first session of the newly elected Parliament, a leading committee compiles a list of the draft laws which were presented for consideration to the Parliament of the previous convocation and which the committee deems expedient for continued consideration. The committee then presents the list to the Bureau of the Parliament.
In the Parliament of the Ninth Convocation, the Bureau registered on 31 August 2020 the initiative concerning the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Agency. The initiative was submitted by MPs Tamar Chugoshvili, Tamar Khulordava, Irine Pruidze, Nino Goguadze and Dimitri Tskitishvili. The legislative package was developed in active cooperation with Transparency International Georgia and aims to create an institutional mechanism for combating and preventing corruption, which would facilitate effective investigation of corruption (including high-level corruption), efficient planning and implementation of anti-corruption policy, creation of appropriate mechanisms of enforcement of anti-corruption legislation – something our organisation has been advocating for years.
The package of legislative amendments envisages the creation of an independent state body – the National Anti-Corruption Agency with the following key directions of work:
- Prevention of corruption in public service;
- Control over the observation by public officials of the norms stipulated by the Law of Georgia on the Conflict of Interests and Corruption in Public Service;
- Impartial and efficient investigation of corruption-related crimes;
- Control over the financial activities of political parties.
This decision made by the Committee points to the absence of political will on the part of the ruling party to take important steps to improve the country’s anti-corruption legislation and practice as well as to establish an effective system for combating corruption. Transparency International Georgia practically on a weekly basis has been publishing materials concerning possible involvement of high-ranking officials in corruption which, in most cases, has not been followed by an effective investigation and, correspondingly, numerous cases of this kind have remained without an appropriate response. Negative trends have appeared with regard to public procurement, becoming particularly apparent during the pandemic. Nepotism remains a notable challenge as the newly appointed officials often provide their family members with employment in public service. There are significant issues concerning the transparency of political party finances. The public opinion poll results are also alarming: a large part of survey participants thinks that the existing anti-corruption system is not capable of effectively tackling the task of investigating high-level corruption cases. Georgia’s rating in Corruption Perception Index has not improved for years on account of suspended anti-corruption reforms.
Given all of the above, we call on the Parliament of Georgia to continue working on the legislative initiative in question. Its adoption would facilitate addressing problems that prevail in Georgia with regard to corruption and would constitute an important step towards the creation of an effective anti-corruption system in the country.
 See the 21 January conclusion by the Legal Issues Committee on the draft laws whose consideration the Committee has deemed expedient: https://info.parliament.ge/file/1/BillReviewContent/268097