TI Georgia Talks Shortcomings in Law on Anti-Corruption Bureau

Transparency International – Georgia released a statement on 2 December that drew attention to shortcomings in the legislative amendments approved by Parliament for the creation of an Anti-Corruption Bureau.

According to the organization, if the initial version of the law focused on the Bureau’s powers of a general coordinating nature, since then, a number of important functions were added, including the monitoring of political parties’ financial activities and property declarations.

Noting that the “consolidation of anti-corruption functions into one institution is welcome and in line with international practices,” the organization emphasized that the centralized model works only if this institution has real independence and is given proper investigative powers.

Per TI – Georgia’s assessment, given that the Anti-Corruption Bureau does not have investigative powers and this function remains with the State Security Service of Georgia (SSG) and the Prosecutor’s Office, the amendments adopted by Parliament are “deficient.”

“Without the granting of investigative powers, the Anti-Corruption Bureau will not be able to effectively fight against high-level corruption, [which] is required by the 4th recommendation issued by the European Commission to Georgia,” TI – Georgia underscored.

According to the organization, the procedure for appointing the Bureau’s head is also “problematic” since granting those powers to the Prime Minister cannot ensure the independence of this institution, “which is a necessary prerequisite for its effective works and is also a requirement of the European Commission’s 4th recommendation.”

“This guarantee was provided for by the election of the Bureau head by Parliament as a result of consensus among political parties,” the organization noted, adding that if such shortcomings are not addressed, the Bureau “will not be able to respond to the challenge of high-level corruption in the country.

In line with its conclusions, TI – Georgia called on Parliament to send the law to the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR for their assessment of the legislative amendments.

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