Conference: Challenges of Georgia’s anti-corruption policy
Georgia’s major achievements and challenges in terms of fighting and preventing corruption were the themes of today’s conference – Challenges of Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Policy – organized as part of Transparency International (TI) Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Week 2014.
At the conference, TI Georgia presented an overview of Georgia’s National Integrity System (NIS) and discussed major achievements as well as weaknesses of the country’s anti-corruption policy. Georgia’s General Auditor, Lasha Tordia, who was the Conference's guest speaker, elaborated on the role of the State Audit Office in preventing corruption. Partner civil society organizations also presented their views about the significance of integrity in public procurement (Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association) and the asset declarations system (Institute for Development of Freedom of Information).
Corruption level in public services remains low
As a result of the successful reform implemented after 2004, Georgia has almost fully eliminated bribery in the provision of public services. According to the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer survey, only 4% of Georgians had been asked to pay a bribe for public services during the preceding 12 months.
Georgia ranked 50th in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) with the score of 52 (out of 100). According to the Index, Georgia has the lowest level of perceived corruption in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.
In recent years, Georgia undertook a number of successful efforts to improve its anti-corruption policies, including monitoring political party and electoral campaign financing, effective operation of the State Audit Office and a transparent system of electronic public procurement. However, a number of important challenges, including the establishment of an independent and professional civil service with transparent recruitment and dismissal procedures, reduction of the share of noncompetitive contracts in public procurement, and effective enforcement of the public sector’s conflict of interest rules in practice.
Georgia’s National Integrity System: 2011-2014
In assessing the country’s anti-corruption policy, TI Georgia applies the National Integrity System (NIS) model: A set of key state and non-state institutions that each play a role in preventing and combating corruption. TI Georgia’s last NIS assessment was published in 2011 and identified the weakness of the judiciary and the legislature, and the resulting lack of accountability in the executive branch, as a key area of concern, along with the government’s influence over the country’s key media outlets and the lack of proper mechanisms for the enforcement of conflict of interest regulations in practice.
TI Georgia’s updated NIS assessment will be published in February 2015, although a number of key findings were also discussed at today’s conference.
Reform priorities and TI Georgia’s proposals
TI Georgia advocates the establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency that would have the legal mandate and the resources to monitor the application of the country’s anti-corruption laws in practice and to enforce relevant regulations. TI Georgia has reviewed successful experience from several post-Communist countries (Slovenia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania) and has prepared a set of proposed amendments to the law that would establish such agency, while also addressing a number of other gaps in the legal framework.
The conference was made possible with funding from the European Union.
This project is funded by the European Union