As part of the implementation of paragraph 4 of the 12 paragraphs of the recommendations of the European Commission for granting Georgia the status of an EU candidate, the Legal Committee registered a package of changes to create the Anti-Corruption Bureau on October 26, 2022.
According to the amendments, a legal entity of public law – the “Anti-Corruption Bureau” will be created, which will “carry out its activities independently”, and its task will be to promote the fight against corruption within its powers. In addition, it will supervise the implementation of the document defining the general anti-corruption policy and the National Anti-Corruption Strategy of Georgia.
In addition, the bureau will develop appropriate proposals for the prevention, detection and suppression of conflicts of interest in public institutions; ensure control over the declaration of the property status of an official; monitor the financial activities of parties, as well as electoral subjects and persons with declared electoral goals; research and analyze existing international standards and experience in the field of combating corruption, etc.
“The Anti-Corruption Bureau is authorized to request the necessary information from relevant entities, cooperate with relevant local and international organizations and other entities, carry out relevant visits both on the territory of Georgia and abroad, establish relevant working groups and carry out other measures.”
The Bureau will be accountable to the Parliament of Georgia and the Interdepartmental Anti-Corruption Council and will submit reports on its activities to them.
The head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau will be appointed by the Prime Minister of Georgia for a period of 6 years, and candidates for the position of the head of the bureau will be selected by the competition commission.
The changes, initiated by the Legal Committee, were criticized by the non-governmental organization Transparency International – Georgia, which said that the bill “does not meet the 4th recommendation of the European Commission.”
The organization explained that the planned reform does not include bringing together various key anti-corruption functions, creating guarantees of real independence, or combating cases of high-level corruption. At the same time, this does not meet the challenges in terms of the growth of corruption at the highest level and the deepening of the state.
Transparency International advised Georgian Dream to use the ideas of the draft law initiated by the Lelo party in January 2022, which provides for the “creation of an independent, multifunctional national Anti-Corruption Agency with investigative powers”, “which would directly and fully comply with the 4th recommendation of the European Commission “.