Civil Service Bureau should examine information disseminated about public officials’ assets
On Saturday, 13 October, the Rustavi 2 TV Company aired a story about expensive real estate owned by some of the high-ranking public officials. The information given in the story raises legitimate questions whether public officials have declared their assets and income fully and whether they might be receiving income bypassing the law.
While the media and civil society play an important role in ensuring that public officials’ activities are transparent, only the state agencies which have full access to all kinds of information necessary for checking whether public officials’ assets and income are lawful, can provide a comprehensive answer to these questions.
The system of monitoring of public officials’ asset declarations was put into operation in Georgia last year, however, within its framework, the Civil Service Bureau has not yet established an independent commission which would select public officials’ declarations for checking due to “heightened corruption risks” and “keen public interest”. Correspondingly, this important anti-corruption mechanism envisaged by the law has not yet been put into effect.
The task of the system of monitoring of asset declarations is to verify the information provided in asset declarations. One of the key goals of the monitoring is the prevention of unlawful enrichment of public officials and the identification of such cases. We call on the Government of Georgia to provide for effective operation of all anti-corruption mechanisms envisaged by the law and to comprehensively examine the instances of alleged corruption that were made public by the media and the civil society sector.
The statement was prepared with the financial support of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida)