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CoE GRECO Calls for Stronger Oversight and Accountability of Top Officials and Police

On July 9, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published its fifth evaluation report on Georgia, calling for stronger oversight and accountability in the top executive and law enforcement bodies.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. GRECO helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms.

Anti-Corruption Bureau Lacks Independence

The report gives a positive assessment of the amendment of the Georgian Law on Combatting Corruption, which led to the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2023.However, the report highlights the pitfalls and concerns that have been identified regarding the independence of the new body. It calls for a review of the Bureau’s legal framework to give it a greater operational independence and to provide it with adequate financial and personnel resources for effective operation.

Top Officials Corruption Unchecked

Georgia has “no specific strategy” to prevent corruption and promote integrity among top officials, the report says, noting that no anti-corruption strategy or action plan has been developed since 2020. The top officials mentioned in the report include the prime minister, ministers and deputy ministers, advisers to the prime minister and ministers, as well as the head of the state administration, his deputies and the parliamentary secretary of the government.

GRECO therefore calls for the adoption of a specific anti-corruption policy to prevent corruption within the executive branch. It also calls for the development of a code of conduct for senior officials and clear guidelines on conflicts of interest and other integrity issues. In addition, the report notes a lack of integrity checks in the appointment procedures for top executive positions. The report stresses the need for a risk-based approach to the selection of declarations of assets and financial interests.

GRECO recommends greater transparency in the appointment of government advisors and calls for stricter rules on gifts and other benefits, as well as the introduction of broadly applicable rules on post-employment restrictions.

In addition, the report notes that authorities should ensure the independence and effectiveness of criminal investigations and prosecutions of high-level individuals suspected of corruption-related crimes. The need for access to information in a timely manner is also stressed in the report.

Law Enforcement Requires Regular Integrity Checks

With respect to law enforcement, the report focuses on the Patrol Police, the Central Criminal Police and the Border Police, and notes that there is room for improvement in corruption-related issues. While noting that Georgia has established new risk management mechanisms, the report stresses that there is no specific operational anti-corruption strategy for the police, nor a comprehensive corruption risk mapping or risk assessment for individual law enforcement agencies, and recommends that they be established.

In addition, GRECO recommends Georgia to ensure that background checks/vetting of police officers are carried out regularly and more intensively for those with access to sensitive information. The report further notes the need for mandatory and continuous integrity training for police officers throughout their career, as well as the need to update police code of ethics, and introduction of ethical and integrity issues.

Finally, the report calls for the adoption and implementation of whisleblower protection measures in the police.

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


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