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TI – Georgia: Anti-Corruption Bureau Proposal Fails to Meet EU Recommendation

Transparency International – Georgia (TIG) released a statement on 1 November regarding the draft law initiated by Georgian Dream for creating an anti-corruption bureau, which stated that the creation of the bureau “does not correspond to the 4th recommendation issued by the European Commission.”

The European Commission’s 4th recommendation: strengthen the independence of the Anti-Corruption Agency bringing together all key anti-corruption functions, in particular, to rigorously address high-level corruption cases; equip the new Special Investigative Service and Personal Data Protection Service with resources commensurate to their mandates and ensure their institutional independence.

According to the organization, the planned changes do not include uniting various essential anti-corruption functions, guarantees of independence, or fighting against high-level corruption. Additionally, it does not respond to the challenges of growing high-level corruption.

“[The draft law] implies, only one thing, the separation of the functions of the secretariat of the National Anti-corruption Council, currently existing in the Government Administration, into separate non-governmental organizations, which does not correspond to the European Commission’s request,” the statement emphasized.

As a result, the organization believes that merely “carrying out the proposed reform cannot be considered as the implementation of the recommendation, which may deprive the country of the opportunity to obtain candidate status.”

Therefore, TI – Georgia called on the Georgian Parliament and Georgian Dream to “reconsider the approach they have chosen regarding the 4th recommendation and do everything to ensure that this recommendation will be considered implemented.”

For this purpose, the civil society organization recommends utilizing the ideas outlined in the draft law initiated by the Lelo for Georgia party in January 2022 which envisages “creating an independent, multifunctional, investigative, national anti-corruption agency,” “which would directly and fully meet the 4th recommendation of the European Commission.”

Per TI – Georgia’s statement, Lelo for Georgia’s draft law has broad support from civil society and the political spectrum and directly responds to all three components mentioned in the European Commission’s 12 recommendations: the guarantee of independence; responding to high-level corruption; and unifying key anti-corruption functions.

“There is still enough time until the end of 2022 to fully satisfy the recommendations given to Georgia by the European Commission, which will bring the country candidate status for EU membership and strengthen its democratic future,” they stated, and called on Georgian Dream not to miss “this historic opportunity” and to do everything so that “even the most skeptical party will not be left with questions about whether Georgia has fulfilled the European Commission’s recommendations.”

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