Monitoring of 2020 Asset Declarations: Worsened Results and Lack of Focus on Uncovering Corruption - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Monitoring of 2020 Asset Declarations: Worsened Results and Lack of Focus on Uncovering Corruption

22 March, 2021


On 31 December 2020, the Civil Service Bureau published its Public Officials’ Asset Declaration Monitoring Report for 2020. The monitoring results show that four years after its introduction, the mechanism of checking declarations is not properly fulfilling its main task – to increase the level of public officials’ accountability and prevent corruption-related violations.

More specifically, there are three key problems which recur each year during monitoring and which need to be solved for the monitoring mechanism to move forward:

1. The number of asset declarations filled out dishonestly is increasing

During the first three years of monitoring, there was an impressive reduction in the number of fines imposed on public officials (from 80% in 2017 to 45% in 2019); however, in 2020, the number of fines started to increase again, reaching 52% (see Table 1). In other words, more than half of public officials fill out their asset declarations dishonestly, which cannot be considered a high level of accountability.

The number of fines has increased despite the fact that public officials have had their obligation to declare assets eased in several areas, for example: the option of issuing a warning instead of a fine was introduced it is also no longer considered a violation if an official fails to declare a company that has not had turnover for the last 6 years.

Table 1 – Results of asset declaration monitoring (2017-2020)





Positive outcome




















13.18% (75%)

41.65% (237)









Source: Civil Service Bureau – annual Asset Declaration Monitoring Reports

Moreover, in the majority of asset declarations dishonestly filled by public officials, several types of violations can be found simultaneously. In 2020, more than half of those who were fined had three or more types of violations in their declarations (see Table 2), which means that a significant part of the information provided in asset declarations is inaccurate or incomplete. This, in turn, undermines the significance of asset declarations as an anti-corruption mechanism and diminishes its effectiveness.

The following three public officials had a particularly high number of irregularities in their 2020 declarations:

  • Ruslan Abashidze – acting Chairperson of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (9 violations);
  • Otar Chalatashvili – Chairperson of the Sagarejo Municipality Council (8 violations);
  • Nona Rekhviashvili – Chairperson of the Georgian Dream Faction of the Bolnisi Municipality Council (8 violations).

Table 2 – Frequency of simultaneous irregularities

Number of Violations



1 violation



2 violations



3 violations



4 violations



5 violations



6 violations



7 violations



8 violations



9 violations



2. Conflict of interests and corruption-related violations are not being checked

According to the 2020 monitoring results, like in previous years, an absolute majority of violations that were identified had to do with only the completeness and accuracy of the information included in the declaration forms. There were virtually no cases when the Bureau uncovered such irregularities as signs of corruption, conflict of interests or activities incompatible with office, illicit enrichment and/or unexplained wealth, violation of restrictions after leaving office (revolving door), and other similar violations.

According to existing legislation, declaration monitoring has both of these functions: 1) checking the completeness and accuracy of declared information; and 2) uncovering and preventing conflict of interests and corruption-related offences.

Of the 341 declarations checked by the Civil Service Bureau in 2020, only one was sent to an investigative agency, although the monitoring report does not specify the official’s identity nor the substance of the violation.

To illustrate the problem, we can cite the examples of several officials who were mentioned in the studies conducted by Transparency International Georgia on account of having a conflict of interests but in whose cases the Civil Service Bureau was unable to establish the same violation:

As for the substance of the uncovered violations, according to the results of the 2020 monitoring, more than half of the officials who were fined (178) had incompletely or incorrectly declared information about their own income and the income of their family members (69.1%) as well as about their bank accounts (56.4%). Almost half of them had provided incomplete information about their real estate (46.3%), one in three had provided incomplete information about their entrepreneurial activities (35.6%), and one in five had failed to fully declare information about contracts they had signed (21.8%). (See Table 3)

Table 3 – Categories of violations uncovered as a result of asset declaration monitoring

Incomplete / inaccurate information



Income and remuneration



Bank accounts



Real estate



Entrepreneurial activities






Information about family members



3. Only half of the number of declarations required by law are being checked

Three times in the course of the past four years of monitoring only half of the number of declarations required by law (10% of all declarations submitted during a year) were checked. The reason is that, so far, there have been three failures to form a special independent commission tasked with the selection of half of the declarations to be checked (that is, 5% of all declarations). As a result, in 2020 too, only 5% of declarations were checked (selected electronically, based on random selection).

The monitoring report provided the following reason for the failure to form the commission: “No representative of a non-governmental organisation or academia submitted an application”. The fact that the commission failed to be formed three times already for the same official reason indicates that the real reason may lie with the flawed procedure of member selection as well as inadequate communication on the part of the Civil Service Bureau, rather than in the lack of interest on the part of the civil society or academia.


It is our opinion that the three specific problems in the asset declaration monitoring system listed above must be solved in order for the monitoring mechanism to adequately perform its function of increasing the level of accountability of public officials and preventing corruption-related violations. We believe that these problems can be addressed as follows:

1. High number of violations – the process of filling out of declaration forms must be updated and simplified, including by means of automation and standardization of answers. A 2020 study conducted by Transparency International Georgia indicates that the simplicity of the declaration process largely determines the completeness and accuracy of declared information.

2. Absence of the focus on corruption – declaration monitoring must not be limited to checking the accuracy of the information provided in a declaration. Uncovering conflict of interests and corruption-related offences must also become part of the monitoring process; the corresponding methodology must be developed and implemented.

3. Failure to form an independent commission – the possibility that the independent commission is unable to form must be minimised; in the event, it is still not formed, the 5% of declarations that are supposed to be selected by the commission must be selected randomly instead so that a full 10% of all submitted declarations are checked each year.