GEO

Implementing Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Laws in Practice Remains a Problem

07 December, 2015

Tbilisi, 7 December 2015:  Transparency International Georgia has published today its latest report which examines the implementation of the provisions of Georgia’s anti-corruption laws in practice.

Tbilisi, 7 December 2015:  Transparency International Georgia has published today its latest report which examines the implementation of the provisions of Georgia’s anti-corruption laws in practice.

There are a number of difficulties in terms of effective enforcement of the anti-corruption laws, detection of offences and implementation of preventive measures. The problems are complex and comprise a number of elements.

Main findings of the report:

  • The majority of ministries have internal bodies (usually the internal audit unit) that are responsible for identifying violations of the provisions of the Law on Civil Service and the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in PUblic Service, reviewing them, and applying sanctions.

  • These bodies are often ineffective as demonstrated by the fact that the media and nongovernmental organizations have identified multiple cases of conflict of interest and corruption-related offences, while these bodies have not identified a single violation of this kind.

  • Independent regulatory commissions do not have internal bodies responsible for reviewing possible cases of conflict of interest.

  • The majority of public institutions have not established clear internal mechanisms of whistleblowing and neither does the law require them to do so, which is a significant gap in terms of the enforcement of the whistleblower protection law and does not correspond with the best practices in this field.

  • The Internal Affairs Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the State Security Service are required to adopt special legislation for whistleblower protection, which has not been adopted yet.

  • The State Security Service’s Anti-Corruption Department does not operate in a transparent manner.

  • Multiple inaccuracies have been discovered in the asset declarations of Parliament members in recent years.

  • Among the anti-corruption provisions of the Law on Civil Service, those concerning the “revolving door” issue (Article 65 of the law concerning post-employment restrictions) are the most problematic ones in terms of their enforcement in practice. Specifically, the provision does not apply to local government officials and it is not clear which body is responsible for its enforcement.

Based on the main findings of the study, Transparency International Georgia has developed the following recommendations:

  • The bodies responsible for the enforcement of the Law on Civil Service and the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service must prioritize detection of the relevant violations and application of sanctions. It is also necessary to build the capacity of these bodies, inter alia through the provision of training for their employees.

  • A legal requirement for the independent regulatory commissions to establish internal bodies responsible for reviewing possible cases of conflict of interest must be introduced.

  • Public institutions must be required by law to develop clear and simple internal procedures for whistleblowing and to inform their employees proactively about them.

  • Effective legislation for the protection of whistleblowers in police, defense and security institutions must be adopted or the existing legislation should apply to the employees of these institutions.

  • Article 65 of the Civil Service Law (post-employment restrictions) which regulates the “revolving door” movement must apply to local government officials as well. Other gaps in this provision should also be addressed (for example, the lack of a body responsible for its enforcement).

  • The State Security Service’s Anti-Corruption Department must operate in a more transparent manner.

  • The Parliamentary Committee on Procedural Issues and Rules must devote more attention to reviewing the asset declarations of the deputies.

  • In order to ensure effective implementation of the anti-corruption laws, an independent anti-corruption agency must be established that would have the necessary powers, resources and degree of political independence.

Report in English will follow soon.