Transparency International – Georgia marked the International Day Against Corruption on 9 December by releasing a statement that underscored that no “effective steps” have been taken to combat high-level corruption and state capture over the last year.
“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,” the organization stressed.
TI – Georgia noted further that there are “alarming processes characteristic of kleptocracy, where polarization is clearly artificially driven, society is divided, the opposition is fragmented, and the media and civil society are under attack.” In that context, it lamented that “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,” TI – Georgia noted, citing the example of the appointment of the new Auditor General, which 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,” the organization stressed.
TI Georgia highlighted that Georgia’s score in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has not improved significantly over the last 10 years and pointed out that this indicates the “halting of efforts to combat corruption since real reforms would have resulted in a noticeable increase.”
As a result, according to their explanation, the current score is “largely” a result of successful reforms against petty corruption which were carried out years ago.
Indeed, the organization pointed out that “almost all anti-corruption reform processes” have been halted since 2020, nor has Georgia 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.”
“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,” TI – Georgia underscored.
In line with its finding, the organization called on the Government to do the following:
- 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.