To prevent kleptocracy Georgia still needs an independent investigative Anti-Corruption Agency - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

To prevent kleptocracy Georgia still needs an independent investigative Anti-Corruption Agency

06 December, 2022

Transparency International Georgia would like to present a policy brief titled ‘Why Georgia Needs an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency’ prepared as part of a project of the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

The purpose of the policy brief is to substantiate the need to establish an independent investigative institution tasked specifically with combating high-level corruption in the country. The document discusses the reasons why the current anti-corruption system does not / is unable to push back high-level corruption and presents a solution to this specific problem based on international best practice.

High-level corruption is a growing problem in Georgia. In recent years, there have been dozens of uninvestigated cases of alleged corruption involving high-ranking officials and people close to the ruling party. More specifically, in the 91 such cases collected by TI Georgia so far as part of its monitoring efforts, 110 officials can be identified, and this number is constantly increasing.

The content, scope and increasing number of these alleged high-level corruption cases point to an alarming conclusion that high-level corruption in the country is taking the form of kleptocracy, where officials systematically use political power to appropriate the country’s wealth.

The fact that high-level corruption has been moving up the hierarchy of problems facing the country is confirmed by the fact that the European Commission set the establishment of an independent institution to fight high-level corruption as one of the prerequisites for Georgia becoming a candidate for EU membership.

It must be highlighted that as part of Georgia’s efforts to fulfill the prerequisites set by the European Commission, a law was adopted, which envisions setting up a new Anti-Corruption Bureau that will unite certain anti-corruption functions. Bringing together anti-corruption functions is a positive step and is in line with both the Commission's recommendation as well as international practice (see our assessment in full). In this respect it is also in line with the model presented in the below policy brief.

However, the new Anti-Corruption Bureau will not be able to deter high-level corruption, as it lacks sufficient guarantees of independence and is not equipped with appropriate (investigative) powers. Therefore, the problem presented in the policy brief and the way to solve it - the creation of an independent anti-corruption investigative body - remains relevant.

This policy brief is prepared within the framework of the Open Society Georgia Foundation’s in-house project “Monitoring Implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement by Coalition of Civil Society Organizations”. The views, opinions and statements expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foundation. Therefore, the Open Society Georgia Foundation is not responsible for the content of the material.