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TI-Georgia: Problem of High Level Corruption is Severe

Transparency International-Georgia, an anti-corruption watchdog, has published its list of alleged high-level corruptions cases, involving government officials and their relatives. The list is regularly updated to reflect the high-level corruption situation in Georgia and includes information on specific corruption cases.

The list includes 144 alleged cases of high-level corruption, where at least 160 high-level public officials can be identified, including: 13 judges, 27 members of Parliament, 27 prime ministers, ministers and their deputies, 53 local-government officials.

Introducing the updated list, the watchdog notes that although corruption in Georgia is characterized by low levels of petty corruption, there is a lack of accountability for high-level corruption, the ultimate form of which is “state capture”.

TI-Georgia cites Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index which shows that the ruling party founder Bidzina Ivanishvili has significant influence over key institutions, meeting the definition of “state capture.”

Moreover, TI Georgia states, that “the nature and scope of the cases of alleged high-level corruption and the increasing number of these cases point to an alarming conclusion that high-level corruption in Georgia is taking the form of “kleptocracy”, where officials systematically use political power to appropriate the country’s wealth and undermine all critical voices, including political opposition, media, and civil society”.

According to the watchdog, although the existence and severity of high-level corruption is being exposed by local civil society, international assessments, and a growing number of reported cases, the authorities often fail to respond effectively, especially when the cases are linked to the ruling party.

“Although under Georgian law an investigator or prosecutor is obliged to open an investigation when a crime is reported, alleged cases of corruption regularly reported by Transparency International Georgia also go unanswered,” the watchdog notes.

To combat the high level corruption effectively, experts recommend transferring corruption investigation powers to an independent agency, as urged by the European Parliament, European Commission, and OECD/ACN. Currently, the fight against corruption falls within the remit of the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) and the Prosecutor’s Office.

Latest additions to the TI-Georgia list include:

  • Alleged corruption cases linked to the former prosecutor general of Georgia, Otar Partskhaladze, recently sanctioned by the US for alleged cooperation with Russia’s FSB;
  • Alleged misuse of government aircraft by PM Garibashvili for personal reasons;
  • Expansion of the Prime Minister’s family estate and unexplained wealth;
  • Luxurious birthday party for the Prime Minister’s wife;
  • Suspicious tenders by Sagarejo City Hall;
  • Kutaisi City Hall’s case of signing a large contract with a new company;
  • Suspicious contracts of Kharagauli City Hall and Sakrebulo.

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


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