Statement regarding the International Anti-Corruption Day - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Statement regarding the International Anti-Corruption Day

09 December, 2022

December 9 is the International Anti-Corruption Day. Last year, Transparency International Georgia wrote that if left unchecked, corruption was expected to rise, which would cause more and more damage to the country, including creating more obstacles for its democratic development. Unfortunately, our predictions have come to pass.

The fact that the problem of high-level corruption was included in the 12 priorities set by the European Commission for Georgia is the result of it having gone unchecked for years. That is why the fight against corruption was named as one of the clear prerequisites for Georgia receiving the EU membership candidate status.

Despite this reality, no effective steps have been taken in the last year to tackle corruption, especially high level corruption and state capture.

On the contrary, we have observed the deepening of kleptocracy, where government officials use their political power to appropriate the wealth of the country. More and more cases of alleged high-level corruption are coming to light and are ignored by relevant authorities.

At the same time, we see alarming processes characteristic of kleptocracy, where polarization is clearly artificially driven, society is divided, opposition is fragmented, and the media and civil society are under attack.

The state remains captured and there is no political will to reverse this process. As a result, almost no independent institutions remain in the country. Most recently, the appointment of the new Auditor General has raised concerns that the financial control of state institutions may be weakened, while statements by ruling party representatives indicate that there is no real desire to appoint an independent Public Defender. Added to this is a weak Parliament that is unable to fulfill its oversight function, which became evident during the pandemic.

Due to the above, Georgia's score in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has not improved significantly over the last 10 years. This indicates halting of efforts to combat corruption, since real reforms would have resulted in a noticeable increase. The current high score is largely a result of successful reforms against petty corruption that were carried out years ago.

Indeed, almost all anti-corruption reform processes have halted since 2020: Georgia has not developed a National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the past 2 years; has missed an entire 2-year action plan cycle of the Open Government Partnership (OGP); and, most worryingly, has yet to confirm its continued participation in the OECD/ACN anti-corruption assessment.

Considering the above, we call on the Government of Georgia to:

  • Start effective investigations of high-level corruption cases.
  • Strengthen the role of oversight institutions, especially the Parliament.
  • Allow media and civil society organizations to perform their oversight function freely and in a secure environment.

As it stands today, the best platform for carrying out anti-corruption reforms in the country is the process of fulfillment of the European Commission’s 12 priorities. It is important to understand that this process is ongoing, therefore the Georgian government should address the Commission, ask for feedback on steps that have been taken so far and carry out further, real reforms based on the clarifications it receives.