TI Georgia Identifies Shortcomings in the Law on the Fight against Corruption

On April 21, Transparency International Georgia, a local watchdog, released the Analysis of the Law on the Fight against Corruption, in which it hails the establishment of a centralized anti-corruption body as a positive step, but notes that the law falls short in “assigning an investigative function to the independent Anti-corruption Bureau, leaving the task of investigating corruption-related crimes solely to the State Security Service and the Prosecutor’s Office.”

TI Georgia clarified that the guarantees of independence and accountability of the Bureau are also a matter of concern. In addition, the law also does not sufficiently guarantee access to information for the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which is essential for the effective performance of its functions.

Functions of the Anti-Corruption Bureau

TI Georgia noted that in order for the Anti-Corruption Bureau to successfully fulfil its anti-corruption function, it is crucial for it to be equipped with powers to investigate corruption-related offenses, which is currently done by the State Security Service. It should also be equipped with functions related to the prevention of corruption in the public service, including protection of whistleblowers, control of compliance with legal norms of corruption and conflict of interest.

Appointment of the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau

The organization also noted that appointment of the Head of the Bureau by the Prime Minister is problematic, because it “cannot ensure the genuine independence of this institution, which is a necessary precondition for its effective performance.” “Additionally, the role of the parliament as a representative body is particularly crucial in achieving the selection of the Head of the Bureau by political consensus.”

The criteria for selection of the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau are also problematic and insufficient “for the head of an independent body that holds significant responsibilities for the country, and who may need to investigate political officials.” The watchdog says: “A minimum of ten years of professional experience and a master’s degree or equivalent should be desirable qualifications for the position.”

Accountability of the Anti-Corruption Bureau

TI Georgia said that despite the existing record, accountability to the Parliament is “largely formal and declarative in nature.” It clarified that the Parliament reviews the Bureau’s report at the plenary session and adopts a resolution. However, “the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament lack a record of what the resolution should contain.” Thus, “it is appropriate to write in the Rules of Procedure that the resolution should not only evaluate the report but also define the tasks of the Parliament and the timeframe for monitoring their implementation.”

Term and immunity of the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau

The document also focuses on the provision, according to which after the six-year term of office expires, the Head of the Bureau continues serving until the selection of the new Head. Moreover, the law does not limit the maximum number of terms a person can serve as the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.

“The law should restrict the Head of the Bureau from continuing to serve after the expiration of the term… To ensure democratic governance and the effective functioning of independent bodies, it is crucial to prohibit the election of an individual to the same position for two consecutive terms,” the document reads.

It also stressed that the Law on the Fight against Corruption does not provide the guarantees of immunity for the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, “for example, the prohibition of his/her criminal prosecution, detention, arrest, and search without the consent of the Parliament of Georgia.”

Accessibility to information for Anti-Corruption Bureau

TI Georgia noted that in order to monitor asset declarations, and prevent, identify and eliminate conflict of interest in public institutions, it is crucial that the Anti-Corruption Bureau has legally guaranteed access to the electronic databases administered by public institutions which “constitutes the international best practice.”


Transparency International Georgia believes that:

  • The Anti-Corruption Bureau must be strengthened, and its mandate should be expanded to include the investigation of corruption offenses.
  • The independence of the Anti-Corruption Bureau should be strengthened. The Bureau Head should be appointed by Parliament by political consensus and the law should establish guarantees for his/her immunity.
  • The accountability of the Anti-Corruption Bureau to Parliament should be enhanced. After the hearing of the Bureau’s report, the Parliament should determine tasks and timeframe for monitoring their implementation, as well as for evaluating the report.

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


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