TI Georgia proposes criminalization of nepotism in the civil service
Transparency International (TI) Georgia has long been studying issues of staffing in the civil service and has been defending civil servants whose rights have been violated. Our research has revealed that recruitment is often conducted in a non-transparent manner in the civil service. In many cases, legal loopholes and inadequate regulation have enabled nepotism and patronage networks to form. For this reason, our organization is proposing the criminalization of nepotism in the civil service.
We have prepared a draft amendment to the Criminal Code of Georgia which would make punishable any overt or deliberate action that undermines the competition and merit-based selection for the civil service. This includes creating favorable conditions for a candidate by violating the terms of the competition or by selective formulation of the qualification criteria. According to the proposal, such actions could receive a fine or result in imprisonment for up to two years or ban on employment in the civil service for up to three years. Multiple offences of if offence is committed by the public official could result in up to three years imprisonment and ban on employment in the civil service for up to subsequent three years.
Although Article 332 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (the abuse of office) theoretically includes a deliberate violation of the rules of competitive recruitment in the civil service, in practice, the Article is almost never interpreted in this manner. Considering the current importance and impact of the issue, we think it would be desirable that the offence were regulated with a special provision which would also envisage a strict punishment.
The draft amendment would also criminalize taking office when the competition rules were violated, if the successful candidate is aware of the violation. However, if the person voluntarily provides the information about the offence to law enforcement agencies, according to the draft amendment, he/she will not be criminally liable. We believe that such regulation would reduce the politicization of the civil service, improve it capacity, and further protect the rights of civil servants.