Parliament Approves Changes for Creating Anti-Corruption Bureau

On 30 November, the Parliament of Georgia approved amendments to the law “On Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service” to allow for the creation of an Anti-Corruption Bureau. The changes were approved with 78 votes.

The decision to adopt the changes was made in response to 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 changes, a new public legal entity will be created – the Anti-Corruption Bureau – the responsibility of which will be to promote the fight against corruption within the scope of its powers. In addition, the Bureau will supervise the implementation of a document defining the general policy of the fight against corruption and the national anti-corruption strategy of Georgia.

Additionally, the Bureau will develop relevant proposals for the prevention, detection, and suppression of conflict of interest in public institutions; ensure control over property status declarations by officials; monitor the financial activities of parties, as well as electoral subjects, and persons with declared electoral goals; and research and analyze existing international standards and experiences in the field of fighting against corruption.

Among other powers, the Bureau will also have the authority to request the necessary information from relevant entities, cooperate with local and international organizations, carry out relevant visits in Georgia and abroad, and create appropriate working groups.

The Bureau will be accountable to the Georgian Parliament and the Interagency Anti-Corruption Council and will submit reports on its activities to them.

The head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau will be appointed by the Georgian PM for a period of 6 years, while candidates for the post will be selected by a special commission.

Notably, the changes were criticized prior to their adoption by the civil society organization Transparency International – Georgia, which stated that the draft law “does not correspond to the 4th recommendation issued by the European Commission.”

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.

As a result, the civil society organization recommended 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.”

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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