Half of Public Officials in Georgia Submit Asset Declarations with violations of the law - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Half of Public Officials in Georgia Submit Asset Declarations with violations of the law

16 March, 2022

Notwithstanding five years of its inception, the monitoring mechanism of public officials’ asset declarations, has failed to become a powerful tool for combating corruption. Public officials are massively failing to comply with declaration rules, while the Civil Service Bureau limits itself to imposing fines or issuing warnings, and disregarding most cases of concealment of property as well as cases of conflict of interest and incompatibility of duties.

In 2021, the Civil Service Bureau verified asset declarations of 296 public officials and found that in Georgia, at least, every other (56%) public official submits[1] an asset declaration with violations of the law. In addition, for the fourth consecutive year now, only one asset declaration is forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office for investigation per year, although civil society organizations and investigative journalists have identified tens of alleged cases of incompatibility of duties, conflict of interests and corruption, including illicit enrichment, over the past years.

Public officials in Georgia are obliged to disclose their assets, finances, and connections on an annual basis that aims at increasing the level of integrity and accountability to the public. The monitoring of asset declarations is one of the major anti-corruption tools - once used properly, it can identify and prevent corruption-related violations.


Compared to 2020, the number of declarations that failed to comply with the law decreased by 5% in 2021; however, the figure still remains high – 56%. Moreover, the statistical data for the past three years clearly demonstrates that there is no substantial improvement in this regard even though in 2018[2] and 2019[3] rules for disclosing information were softened in certain areas.

In 2021, declarations were submitted in breach of the rule immensely by heads of State Enterprises and Non-Entrepreneurial (Non-Commercial) Legal Persons (67%) over others; for example, in case of Members of the Parliament - 42% submitted with violations. Municipal officials (66%) and officials at classified positions[4] (64%) largely submit asset declarations with violations as well.

Several types of violations can be found simultaneously in the majority of declarations that are non-compliant with the law. In 2021, the bulk of those who were fined (63%) had three or more types of violations - implying that significant part of the information provided in declaration form is inaccurate and/or incomplete. This, in turn, undermines the relevance of asset declarations as an anti-corruption mechanism.

According to the 2021 monitoring report, the following three public officials had a particularly high number of violations:

  • Ana Devsurashvili – Ministry of Defense of Georgia, Head of Education Policy and Professional Development Division – 8 violations;[5]
  • Avtandil Enukidze – Member of the Parliament of Georgia – 7 violations;[6]
  • Nino Kariauli – Administration of Mtatsminda District, Head of Legal Department – 7 violations.[7]

As for the categories of the violations, in 2021, mostly officials hide or incompletely declare information related to their family members, including the income of their family member(s), real estate, bank accounts, contracts, and derived financial benefits.

It is noteworthy that a number of such violations has been increasing over the past three years (63% in 2019 and 76% in 2021). In addition, compared to 2019 in 2021 figures have worsened in six (out of seven) categories of violations.

Besides the fact that concealing or incompletely declaring information is direct violation of the law and flags corruption risks, it also impedes the civil society and media from conducting external monitoring.

Moreover, external monitoring is also hampered by not disclosing information on the gravity/scale of violation following the monitoring; for example, when a public official provides false statement in a real estate listing, the CSB monitoring report does not further explain whether the statement was made in relation to a multi-million property or a garage.

Monitoring fails to detect Conflict of interests and other Corruption-related violations

As practice shows, the assets declarations’ monitoring mechanism does not effectively fulfill its primary objective to identify and prevent conflict of interests and corruption-related violations.

According to the Civil Service Bureau reports, monitoring serves only to one of the two main purposes[8] defined by law - verifying the completeness and accuracy of the statements. The reports do not address the second objective – identification and prevention of conflict of interests and corruption-related violations.

For example, the Civil Service Bureau reports do not cover cases of incompatibility of duties, conflict of interests and/or unexplained wealth.

However, according to the Civil Service Bureau’s response to the Transparency International Georgia’s public information request, it has revealed the cases of incompatibility of duties and conflict of interests in 2017-2020:

The fact that the Bureau revealed the cases of incompatibility of duties and conflict of interests during the monitoring and did not disclosed them in the monitoring reports - raises a question whether the Bureau intentionally avoids disclosing information on corruption-related violations. This assumption is further reinforced by the fact that the Bureau does not reveal the names of those officials, whose declarations are being forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Further ground that confirms the weakness of monitoring tool in terms of combating corruption is the number of cases forwarded to the law enforcement agencies – as a result of the five-year monitoring, only 11 declarations were transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office, whilst civil society organizations and journalists have identified tens of alleged cases of incompatibility of duties, conflict of interests and corruption, including illicit enrichment, over the past years.[9] It is alarming that as of December 2021, out of 10 cases forwarded to the prosecutor's office in 2017-2020, investigation was terminated in the case of 3 declarations received in 2017 due to the absence of violations, while the investigation of the remaining declarations is still ongoing.[10]

The number of asset declarations forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office is extremely low, especially if compared to the number of declarants fined since the inception of the monitoring in 2017 – out of 1,924 verified declarations 1,128 (59%) - were fined. Besides the lack of political will to identify corruption-related violations, a small number of cases forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office can also be explained by the fact that the Civil Service Bureau decides at its own excessive discretion whether a false statement was made due to “a technical fault or miscalculation.”[11] Hence, declarations that fail to comply with the rule are or are not forwarded to the Prosecutor’s Office based on the CSB decision above.

When describing the categories of violations, the 2021 monitoring report notes that “44% of declarations in breach of the rule - contained false statements in a real estate listing, where some information about immovable property was [inadvertently] left out…”[12] It is vague on what basis it is determined whether the false statement were made inadvertently or intentionally.

When monitoring asset declarations, the Civil Service Bureau has direct technical access to various government databases (for example, real estate and business registries) that makes monitoring more efficient. However, the full potential of direct access to these databases is not being exploited as of today.

Only half of the number of declarations required by law undergoes monitoring

The law envisages monitoring of 10% of all declarations submitted during a year with 5% selected randomly and the remaining 5% - selected by an independent commission composed of three representatives of civil society organizations and two from academia (corruption researchers) through an open competition on a yearly basis.

If the commission fails to be formed, as this was the case four times within a five-year period, then 5% - only half of the declaration quota defined by the law will undergo the monitoring. For example, the commission failed to be formed in 2022 as well. Despite the civil society’s willingness to participate, not a single researcher applied for the commission membership.[13]

A justified request presented to the Civil Service Bureau is yet another ground for commencing declaration verification. It is noteworthy that in 2021, violations were found in 81% of declarations verified on the basis of submitted requests. This result implies that the civil society and media representatives involved in the monitoring of declarations can identify high-risk declarations with high accuracy. Accordingly, the Civil Service Bureau should make better use of this resource and launch its monitoring, for example, on the basis of reports in the media as well.


For years, Transparency International Georgia has been drawing Georgian Government’s attention, including the Civil Service Bureau, towards the shortcomings of the existing Assets Declarations’ Monitoring Mechanism, and has been offering relevant solutions as well.

In order to improve the current system of submission and monitoring of asset declarations, the following actions should be taken:

  1. The Civil Service Bureau should intensify the component of identifying the conflict of interests and corruption-related violations and fully disclose the information about violations revealed as a result of monitoring.
  2. The Bureau should disclose comprehensive information about public officials whose declarations were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, also unveil the cases of incompatibility of duties, conflict of interest, specific types of violations and actions taken in response.
  3. Minimize the risk of failure to form the independent commission that selects declarations for monitoring. To this end, the list of potential candidates should be expanded; in particular, along with researchers, investigative journalists shall also have an opportunity to participate in the selection.
  4. In case of the failure to form the commission, its 5% quota shall be utilized to expand monitoring list, for example, to state-political officials and those with high risk of corruption.
  5. The list of declarants should be expanded to cover prosecutors of different levels, investigators of anti-corruption cases and advisers to the state-political officials.
  6. The Scope and exhaustiveness of declarations need to be enhanced and include, for example, beneficial ownership, unpaid activities and online assets (cryptocurrency).
  7. It is necessary to disclose information on paid work performed by public official prior and after their tenure.
  8. Monitoring of declarations should also be launched on the basis of media reports.
  9. It is essential to introduce a risk-based automated selection (Red Flag Analysis) mechanism to classify declarants into risk categories considering their positions and/or duties, and to sort them out on the basis of high probability of violations.
  10. The Civil Service Bureau should develop a risk-based automated reporting mechanism as well – for example, the system should red-tag all those officials who, according to the business registry, hold managerial positions in any enterprise (incompatibility of duties).
  11. Information stored in a various government databases (for example, business registry) should automatically be imported into declaration forms. This will, on the one hand, reduce the probability of human error and on the other, save resources on verification. Thus, additional time will be given to identify more complex forms of violations (e.g. corruption-related).
  12. It is necessary to publish declarations in a machine-readable (open data) format.
  13. Asset declarations’ monitoring report should provide a comprehensive information regarding the uncovered violations in respect of each public official; it is also necessary to ensure that publicly available declarations contain accurate information and relevant declarations are updated after exposing false statements.




[1] A share of declarations that fail to comply with the rules has been calculated excluding the declarations that did not complete verification procedure as the Civil Service Bureau ceased the monitoring during the reporting year. Accordingly, the percentage provided in the present study slightly differs from the data provided in the Bureau’s monitoring reports.

[3] On the Amendments to the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, 4462-II, April 4, 2019, available here.

[4] A public official whose position is marked as classified according to the Law of Georgia on State Secrets; the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, article 19, available here.

[6] Declaration provided incomplete or no information about real estate, bank accounts, remuneration, incomes and expenses.

[7] Declaration provided incomplete or no information about bank accounts, business activities, remuneration, contracts.

[8] On Approval of the Instruction for Monitoring Asset Declarations of Public Officials; Degree No. 81 of the Government of Georgia dated February 14, 2017, article 2, available here.

[9] Uninvestigated Cases of Alleged High-Level Corruption in Georgia — A Periodically Updated List, Transparency International Georgia, available here.

[10] Letter of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Georgia №13/73054, December 02, 2021.

[11] Ibid, Article 21(2).

[12] Civil Service Bureau, Public Officials’ Asset Declaration Monitoring Report for 2021, p.4, available here.

[13] Evaluation of the Enforcement of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Institutions (2016-2020) thoroughly discusses the shortcomings existing in the asset declaration monitoring system, December 7, 2021, available here