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Georgian

Anti-Corruption Legislation:
Implementation in Practice











Transparency International Georgia


2015






















The Publication has been prepared with the financial support of the Swedish International
Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The views expressed in the report do not necessarily
represent those of Sida. Transparency International Georgia is solely responsible for the reports
content.



Contents
I. Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 4
II. Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................ 4
III. Overview of Anti-Corruption Legislation ........................................................................................... 5
The Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service ...................................................... 5
The Law on Civil Service ..................................................................................................................... 7
The Criminal Code .............................................................................................................................. 8
Law on Lobbying Activities ................................................................................................................. 9
Law on National Regulatory Authorities ............................................................................................ 9
IV. Implementation of Anti-Corruption Legislation in Practice ............................................................ 10
Law on Civil Service .......................................................................................................................... 10
The law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service ..................................................... 15
Civil Service Bureau .......................................................................................................................... 21
Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission ............................................ 22
Georgian National Communications Commission ............................................................................ 23
Lobbying Activities ........................................................................................................................... 24
Parliamentary Committee on Procedural Issues and Rules ............................................................. 25
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Chief Prosecutors Office ............................................................... 26
V. Conclusion ........................................................................................................................................ 27




I. Introduction
Anti-corruption provisions have long existed in the Georgian legislation and have been constantly
undergoing change and improvement. For example, the Law on Civil Service1 and the Law on Conflict
of Interest and Corruption in Public Service2 have existed since 1997. The former has undergone 104
different amendments since its adoption, and the latter - 50. In 1998, Georgia adopted the Law on
Lobbying Activities3. The countrys Criminal Code4 provides for criminal liability for corruption and
malfeasance. Finally, conflict of interest and principles of integrity of various regulatory bodies and
their members are regulated by a number of other laws.
However, of equal importance to improving the legal framework is its effective enforcement. The
latter is the subject of this research.
Transparency International Georgia requested statistics from public agencies (ministries) on
violations and responses to the violations of the Laws on Civil Service, Lobbying Activities, and
Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service. We also requested statistics on investigations
launched and criminal prosecutions carried out under relevant articles of the Criminal Code.
The report also presents several case studies (identified though desk research) that illustrate
shortcomings in the implementation of anti-corruption legislation.

II. Executive Summary


Effective implementation of the anti-corruption legislation, including crime detection and
prevention, in the Georgian public sector is hindered by a number of problems. These problems are
multifaceted and complex in nature. One of the main obstacles for this research was incomplete
information provided by public agencies. Several agencies did not provide any answer, while, in
some cases, we had the impression that a public agency deliberately avoided answering certain
questions.
Key Findings:

Most ministries have a department (usually the Internal Audit Department) that is
responsible for identifying, investigating and responding to violations of norms established
by the Law on Civil Service and the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public
Service.
These departments are mostly ineffective. This is evidenced by the fact that they have failed
to detect violations related to conflict of interest and corruption, which have been identified
by media and non-governmental organizations.
Independent regulatory commissions do not have departments tasked with investigating
cases of possible conflict of interest.
The majority of public agencies do not have a clear internal whistleblowing mechanism. The
existence of such a mechanism is not required by law, which is a significant obstacle for the

Law of Georgia on Civil Service, see: https://goo.gl/kKXQHv


Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, see: https://goo.gl/jB09YT
3
Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, see: https://goo.gl/fn1NJ5
4
The Criminal Code of Georgia, see: https://goo.gl/fCL02E
2

implementation of the existing legislation on whistleblower protection and fails to meet best
practice requirements.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the State Security Service have
yet to fulfill their obligation to develop a special legislation on whistleblower protection.
The activities of the Anti-Corruption Department of the State Security Service are not
transparent.
A number of inaccuracies have been identified in asset declarations submitted by MPs in
recent years.
The revolving door provision (Article 65 - restriction of employment) of the Law on Civil
Service is the most problematic of anti-corruption provisions. The law does not apply to local
government officials, and does not specify which government body is responsible for its
enforcement.

Based on these key findings, Transparency International Georgia has developed the following
recommendations:

The departments within public agencies responsible for enforcing the Law on Civil Service
and the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service must intensify their
efforts to detect and prevent violations. The capacity of these departments must also be
strengthened, including through training of employees.
Independent regulatory commissions must be obligated by law to set up internal
departments charged with investigating possible cases of conflict of interest.
Public agencies must be obligated by law to develop clear and simple internal procedures for
whistleblowing that will be proactively introduced to their employees.
An effective legislation on whistleblower protection must be adopted for law enforcement
agencies. Alternatively, the existing legislation must be extended to the employees of these
agencies.
Article 65 (restriction of employment) of the Law on Civil Service that contains regulations
on revolving door must be extended to local government employees. Other shortcomings
of this provision (e.g., the lack of a responsible agency) must also be addressed.
The activities of the Anti-Corruption Department of the State Security Service must become
more transparent.
The Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of Parliament must pay greater attention to
examining the asset declarations filed by MPs.
In order to effectively implement anti-corruption legislation, an independent anti-corruption
agency must be created that will have with proper authority, resources and political
independence.

III. Overview of Anti-Corruption Legislation


The Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service
The Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service determines the basic principles of
prevention, discovery and elimination of conflict of interest and corruption in public agencies, and

basic principles of responsibility of perpetrators of corruption.5 This law also regulates whistleblower
protection and asset declarations filed by public officials.
The law defines corruption in public service as the abuse of the position or the opportunities
related to the position by a public servant in order to obtain property or other assets prohibited by
law, and the transfer of these assets to him/her, or support in obtaining and legalizing them.6
According to the law, a corruption offense may involve disciplinary, administrative and criminal
liability. The law defines conflict of interest in public service as the conflict of property or other
private interests of a public servant with the interests of state service.7 The law also regulates gifts
received by public servants and their family members and the substantiation of the origin of their
property.8 If a public servant or his/her family member receives a gift that is prohibited by law, they
are obligated to transfer it to the LEPL Service Agency of the Ministry of Finance within three
working days.9
The Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service sets restrictions and bans public
officials from making property transactions with a public institution in which they hold a position.
Public officials are also prohibited from making property transactions as public servants with their
close relatives or their representatives.10 In case a public servants personal or property interest is
present during a decision-making process, he/she is obligated to declare self-recusal.11 This law also
regulates the incompatibility of duties in public service. According to the law, an official or his/her
family member may not hold a position, perform any kind of work in, hold any stocks or a share in
the authorized capital of an enterprise registered in Georgia, if the control of its entrepreneurial
activities falls within the powers of this official or his/her office. Officials are also prohibited from
holding a position in any enterprise.12
According to the law, public officials shall be dismissed from their position if:

They or their family members have violated the incompatibility provisions under this Law.
It is confirmed by a court decision that the official owns illegal and/or unsubstantiated
property.13

The law obligates public officials and their family members to annually file asset declarations and
imposes sanctions in case of noncompliance.14
The law also determines the mechanisms of whistleblower protection, disclosure procedure and
other related issues.15 According to the law, disclosure may be made in writing, orally, electronically,
by telephone, fax, through the website administered by the Civil Service Bureau or other means. At

5

Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 1


Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 3
7
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 3
8
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 5
2
9
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 5
10
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 10
11
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 11
12
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 13
13
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 13
14
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Chapter IV
15
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Chapter V
6

the same time, disclosure can be anonymous. If a whistleblower does not express in writing his/her
consent to release his/her identity, the body in charge of the review of whistleblower's applications
shall not disclose the whistleblower's identity.16 Article 204 of the law determines the guarantees of
whistleblower protection. For example, it prohibits the intimidation of a whistleblower or his/her
relatives.
However, this law does not apply to the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the
State Security Service. Whistleblower protection is supposed to be regulated through a special
legislation in these public agencies.17

The Law on Civil Service


The Law on Civil Service establishes the legal basis for the organization of civil service in Georgia,
regulates relations related to the performance of civil service and determines the legal status of
public employees. The law distinguishes between the following civil servant types: a state-political
official, an official, a member of the support staff, a part-time employee.
The Law on Civil Service establishes the criteria under which a person will not be accepted into civil
service.18 The law also distinguishes between political party activities and public service, and
prohibits civil servants from using their official position for political party activities.19 The law sets
restrictions on official supervision. For example, a civil servant is not allowed to supervise an
organization where his/her family members hold managerial positions.20 Civil servants are also not
allowed to participate in entrepreneurial activities, and only have the right to hold shares or
ownership stakes.21 In addition, civil servants may not receive profit from organizations whose
supervision is part of their official duties.
The law introduces the concept of incompatibility of office and places certain restrictions for civil
servants on concurrently performing other paid work.22
A dismissed civil servant may not start working for a public institution that he/she supervised during
the past three years. In addition, for three years he/she also may not receive income from such
institution or enterprise.23
State employees are not allowed to make transactions with political parties, their business entities,
as well as with family members and relatives.24


16

Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 20


11
17
Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, Article 20
18
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 17
19
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 61
20
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 62
21
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 63
22
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 64
23
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 65
24
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 66

Article 73 of the Law on Civil Service defines the general rules of conduct, their purpose and scope,
and imposes certain restrictions and obligations on civil servants.25 This article also establishes
general rules of conduct for preventing conflict of interest and corruption in civil service.26
Article 734, Paragraph 4 of the law defines the concept of a person related to a civil servant, which
may include a family member and a close relative under the Law on Conflicts of Interest and
Corruption in Public Service, as well as any other person with whom the public employee maintains a
common household, i.e. a special relationship that may affect conditions or economic outcomes of
their activity. Paragraph 3 of the same article obligates a public servant to provide information to
relevant authorities about related persons employed at the same public agency within one month
after joining civil service, and later by February 1 of each subsequent calendar year.27
In order to prevent corruption offenses, Article 735, Paragraph 2 of the law obligates civil servants to
inform the relevant department of the public agency about receiving a gift.28 If a public servant is
offered an undue benefit, he/she must notify his/her immediate superior in writing of the attempted
offer within three working days.29
Articles 78 and 79 of the law regulate disciplinary violations and related sanctions. The latter
include:30

Reproval
Warning
Deduction of no more than ten working days' salary
Suspension from work without pay for no more than ten working days
Transfer to a lower salary grade for no more than one year
Dismissal on the basis of this Law.31

The Criminal Code


The Criminal Code of Georgia provides for responsibility of different severity for corruption or
corruption-related crimes. According to this law, the following offenses are criminally punishable:
vote buying32; unlawful appropriation or embezzlement of another person's property or property
rights through use of ones official position33; crimes against the interests of service in
entrepreneurial or other organizations, such as abuse of power34 and commercial bribery35; official
misconduct, specifically, abuse of official powers36, exceeding of official powers37, illegal

25

Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 73 , Article 73


4
5
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 73 , Article 73
4
27
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 73 , Paragraph 4
5
28
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 73 , Paragraph 2
5
29
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 73 , Paragraph 3, Subparagraph f)
30
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 79
31
Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 79
1
32
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 164
33
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 182
34
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 220
35
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 221
36
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 332
37
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 333
26

participation in entrepreneurial activities38, bribe-taking39, bribe-giving40, trade in influence41,


accepting gifts prohibited by law42, and forgery by an official43.

Law on Lobbying Activities


Georgian law defines lobbying as any influence not prohibited by law of a person registered as a
lobbyist on a representative or an executive body for the purpose of achieving legislative change.44
Any capable citizen of Georgia may register as a lobbyist, with some exceptions, including when the
citizens work position is incompatible with conducting lobbying activities or when a citizen has been
convicted for a crime against the state or official misconduct.45
After registration, lobbyists are granted the right to enter and freely move inside the buildings of
administrative bodies, to take part in discussions of draft normative acts, to present their comments
in writing, to request information from a public agency for the purpose of carrying out their
activities, and to meet with a member of the representative body.46 At the same time, lobbyists are
obligated to file activity reports between the first and tenth days of each month after their
registration, and no later than 10 days after termination of their lobbyist status.47

Law on National Regulatory Authorities


The Law on National Regulatory Authorities ensures the independence of national regulatory
commissions from political pressure, from improper influence and illegal interference of State
Authorities or other persons, and from any acts that may infringe on their independence and
activities.
The law also regulates the norms of ethics and conflict of interest issues of the members of the
national regulatory commissions.48 According to the law, commission members must suspend their
political party membership for the whole period of their activity as commission members. In
addition, commission members, members of their family and employees of regulatory body
administration do not have the right to have any direct or indirect economic interests in respect to a
license holder, or to hold any office in a license holding enterprise. Finally, commission members and
members of the administrative staff are not allowed to receive gifts from persons or organizations
that are subject to the sphere of authority of the relevant regulatory authority.


38

The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 337


The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 338
40
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 339
1
41
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 339
42
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 340
43
The Criminal Code of Georgia, Article 341
44
Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, Article 2
45
Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, Article 6
46
Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, Articles 10 and 11
47
Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, Article 13
48
Law of Georgia on National Regulatory Authorities, Article 15; see: http://goo.gl/64WgKT
39

IV. Implementation of Anti-Corruption Legislation in Practice


Law on Civil Service
Of the 19 public agencies (ministries) reviewed within the scope of this research, 15 have an internal
structural unit (department) that is responsible for detecting, investigating and sanctioning
theviolations of the Law on Cublic Service. (two of the remaining four agencies did not respond to
our request to provide the information, while the other two are not required by law to have such a
unit).
In most cases, this structural unit is the public agency's Internal Audit Department; however, in rare
cases, the responsibility is entrusted to the General Inspectorate or is distributed among several
departments.
According to the information received, cases of violation of the Law on Civil Service in 2010-2015
were detected in only three ministries: 25 cases in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 36 cases in the
Ministry of Health, and four cases in the Ministry of Environment Protection.
Violations detected by the departments of the above ministries were associated with the following
articles of the Law on Civil Service: Article 52 (obligation to perform official duties and to observe
legal acts) 35 cases; Article 66 (restriction on conclusion of deals) 1 case; and Article 732 (general
rules of conduct) 5 cases.
16 out of 19 examined ministries provided us with information about the number of statements
submitted by public servants about their related persons. 14 of these 16 ministries either reported
having received no statements related to Article 734, Paragraph 3 of the Law on Civil Service, or did
not include this information in their response letters. Statements on related persons were submitted
in only two ministries: 422 statements in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 2 in the Ministry of
Regional Development and Infrastructure.
15 ministries provided us with information about the statements submitted by civil servants on gifts
and services offered to them (Article 735, Paragraph 2 of the Law on Civil Service). One ministry
reported that it had not conducted such an investigation. The internal audit department of another
ministry does not have information on the matter. Meanwhile, 12 ministries reported receiving no
statements under this article. Only the Ministry of Education reported having received one such
statement in 2010-2015.
Also, 14 ministries provided us with information about the statements submitted by public servants
regarding undue benefits offered to them (Article 735, Paragraph 3, Subparagraph f) of the Law on
Civil Service), while 11 ministries reported having received no such statements. The Ministry of
Prisons had not conducted such an investigation, while the internal audit department of the Ministry
of Environment Protection does not have information on the matter. Only the Ministry of Economy
reported having received one such statement in 2010-2015.
As for disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article 79 of the Law on Civil Service, only one out of 19
ministries (Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration) had not used only
in 2010-2015.

10

Statistics related to the Law on Civil Service


Responsible department

Statistics on
violations of the
law

Number of
submitted
statements
on related
persons
4
(Article 73 ,
Paragraph 3)

Number of
submitted
statements
on gifts or
benefits
5
(Article 73 ,
Paragraph 2)

Number of
submitted
statements
on the
attempts to
offer gifts
5
(Article 73 ,
Paragraph 3,
Subparagraph
f))

Statistics
on the use
of
disciplinar
y sanctions
in 20102015
(Article 79)

Ministry of
Foreign Affairs

Internal Audit
Department

25

422

46

Ministry of
Energy

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Economy

Human Resources
Division of the Human
Resources Management
and Administration
Department

28

Ministry of
Health

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Refugees

1 case of violation
of Articles 66 and
2
73 in 2015. All
other violations
were of Article 52,
Paragraph 1.

36

Internal Audit
Department;
Department of Human
Resources Management
and Development

105

Ministry of
Education

Internal Audit
Department; and the
Department of Human
Resources Management

Ministry of
Agriculture

Internal Audit
Department

19

Ministry of
Regional
Development
and
Infrastructure

Administrative
Department (at the
competition stage).
Internal Audit
Department (detection
and response)

16

Ministry of
Finance

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Culture

Internal Audit and


Monitoring Department

51

Ministry of
Sport

Shared by several
departmnets

16

Ministry of
Defense

General Inspectorate

42

11

Ministry of
Justice

Ministry of
Internal
Affairs

Ministry of
Prisons

General Inspection

532

Ministry of
Environment
Protection

Inspection Division of the


Internal Audit
Department

61

Office of the
State Minister
of European
and EuroAtlantic
Integration

Administrative
Department

Office of the
State Minister
of
Reconciliation
and Civic
Equality

Administrative
Department

Office of the
State Minister
of Diaspora

Not obligated by law to


have such a department


Apart from receiving statistics from ministries on violations of the Law on Civil Service, we also
identified several cases through desk research that help illustrate the problems of practical
implementation of the above law. These cases suggest that the revolving door regulations and their
enforcement are still very weak and, in many cases, ineffective in terms of preventing corruption
risks.
The revolving door phenomenon, or the kind of movement of officials between the public and the
private sectors or between supervisor and supervised agencies that gives rise to the risks of conflicts
of interest or corruption, is regulated by Article 65 (restriction on entry on duty) of the Law on Civil
Service.
Article 65 - Restriction of Employment:
For a period of three years after leaving public service, a civil servant may not start working
at an institution or enterprise which was under his/her systematic official supervision during
the preceding three years. In addition, he/she may not receive income from such institution
or enterprise during this period.
Our research revealed significant problems with the Law on Civil Service. Firstly, the law does not
specify the public agency responsible for determining which case of movement of public servants
between the public and private sectors constitutes a violation. It is also unclear what the response
mechanism is for cases when a person s relocation from the public to the private sector has been
identified as a violation of Article 65.

12

In recent years, non-governmental organizations and media representatives have identified a


number of possible violations of this article. For example:

Mining company RMG was and perhaps is still headed by persons, who were previously
employed in public service and were responsible for granting licenses to this company and
overseeing its compliance with license conditions. These persons are Zurab Kutelia (former
head of the Mineral Resource Protection and Mining Department of the Ministry of
Environment Protection, and chairman of the Ministrys Interagency Council of Experts on
Mineral Resource Licenses until 2004) and Solomon Tsabadze (head of the Department of
Environmental Permits and State Environmental Assessment at the Ministry of Environment
Protection until 2003).49

Dariali Energy Ltd Director Zurab Alavidze held the position of deputy minister of economy in
2009-2010. The Ministry of Economy issues permits for the construction of medium and
large hydro power plants and is responsible for overseeing their compliance with permit
conditions.50

The following persons held high-ranking government positions before becoming affiliated
with a company set up to allow hunting of animals included in the Red List of Endangered
Species: Saba Kiknadze (former chairman of the Tourism and Resorts Department of the
Ministry of Economy) and Datuna Rakviashvili (former deputy state minister of reintegration,
later deputy ambassador of Georgia to the United States).51

The most noteworthy example is Zviad Cheishvilis movement between the largest
company involved in timber business and top positions regulating this very field (head of the
Department of Licenses and Permits; head of the Forestry Department; deputy minister of
environment protection; deputy minister of economy and sustainable development.)52

The mechanism for responding to violations identified during the movement of civil servants
between supervisor and supervised public agencies is also problematic. If a civil servant applies to
work at a public agency that they had supervised during their service in the public sector over the
preceding three years, the recipient public agency must refuse them employment on the basis of
Article 65. However, it is unclear what the response mechanism is when the recipient public agency
violates this norm, as it was likely the case with the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), when
Kakhaber Sonishvili was appointed as its Deputy Financial Director.
According to information received from the State Audit Office (SAO), from May 6, 2010 to
September 20, 2012, Kakhaber Sonishvili worked as the supervising auditor at the Economic
Activities Audit Department of the SAO. According to the SAO, Sonishvili was involved in compliance

49

Natural Resource Management and Factors Conducive to Elite Corruption, Green Alternative, 2015 (revised
edition), see: http://goo.gl/xNB9mt
50
Natural Resource Management and Factors Conducive to Elite Corruption, Green Alternative, 2015 (revised
edition), see: http://goo.gl/xNB9mt
51
Natural Resource Management and Factors Conducive to Elite Corruption, Green Alternative, 2015 (revised
edition), see: http://goo.gl/xNB9mt
52
Natural Resource Management and Factors Conducive to Elite Corruption, Green Alternative, 2015 (revised
edition), see: http://goo.gl/xNB9mt

13

audits of the measures against pollution of the Black Sea and the activities of the LEPL Georgian
Public Broadcaster.
According to the Law on State Audit Office, compliance audit involves examination, evaluation and
reporting on the reasonability and legality of the auditee's activities. Article 24 of the same law
states that the SAO is entitled to develop recommendations based on audit findings and submit the
audit report and recommendations to the auditee. The SAO must be notified on the measures
undertaken in follow up on its recommendations within the period of 1 month, unless another time
frame has been set by the SAO. In other words, by taking part in the compliance audit of LEPL
Georgian Public Broadcaster Kakhaber Sonishvili had conducted official supervision over it.
Therefore, his relocation to the GPB as its Deputy Financial Director in March 2013 is a clear example
of a revolving door and constitutes a violation of Article 65 of the Law on Civil Service.
The GPB has not responded in any way to the discovery of this possible legal violation by
Transparency International Georgia, which serves as an illustration of the above-mentioned legal
shortcoming.
Finally, the current wording of the Law on Civil Service suggests that the restrictions set by Article 65
do not apply to local government employees, which is also a problem. According to the law, Article
65 applies to state employees, which is defined by Article 4, Paragraph 2 of the same law as an
employee who has working relations with the state, while a person who has labor relations with a
local government unit is a local government employee.
The following case discovered by Transparency International Georgia illustrates the need to extend
the law to local government employees:

Another case of notice involves Lasha Purtskhvanidze, former deputy mayor of Tbilisi and
head of the Old Tbilisi District Administration. After resigning from the City Hall in 2009,
Purtskhvanidze and his former deputy Koba Kharshiladze each acquired a 50 percent share
in Greenservice Ltd. at a token price of GEL 200 in November 2010. By then, Greenservice
was already a major recipient of public funds through procurement and had been
contracted by the City Hall to implement a number of projects in the city (including those
implemented during Purtskhvanidzes and Kharshiladzes time in the office). Allegations
were made that Purtskhvanidze was the beneficial owner of the company while holding
office in the City Hall. After the formal acquisition by these two former City Hall officials,
Greenservice continued to win public tenders and received at least GEL 4 million in
government contracts in 2010-2012. In April 2012, TI Georgia reported that the City Hall had
purchased trees from Greenservice at a suspiciously high price. When the story was picked
up by the media, the city mayor called a press conference, accused Greenservice of
cheating, and announced that the City Hall would cancel all of its contracts with the
company. While the city authorities did, indeed, stop working with Greenservice, they
continued to contract Greenservice Plus, a company which is also owned by Purtskhvanidze

14

and Kharshiladze, and has the same legal address as Greenservice. The company received
over GEL 0.5 million from the City Hall in the first three months of 2013 alone.53
The above problems point to the need to improve and better enforce the anti-corruption regulations
set by the Law on Civil Service.

The law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service


Of the 19 ministries examined within the scope of this research, 15 have a department which is
responsible for detecting, investigating and sanctioning violations of the Law on Conflict of Interest
and Corruption in Public Service. Similar to the Law on Civil Service, this function is most often
performed by the ministries Internal Audit Departments; however, in some cases, the responsibility
is assigned to the General Inspectorate or is distributed among several departments. For example,
the Ministry of Sport does not have a department solely responsible for detecting, investigating and
sanctioning the cases of conflict of interest and corruption. However, the Ministry responded that,
when necessary, other departments, such as the Internal Audit and Monitoring Department and the
Resource Management Division of the Administrative Department, may perform part of this
responsibility within the limits of their mandate.
The Offices of State Ministers responded that they do not have the legal obligation to set up
departments responsible for investigating cases of conflict of interest and corruption. However, in
case of the Office of the State Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration and the Office of the State
Minister of Reconciliation this function is performed by the Administrative Departments. The Office
of the State Minister of Diaspora does not have a department with this responsibility.
According to information received from these 19 ministries, no violations of the Law on Conflict of
Interest and Corruption in Public Service have been detected in 2010-2015, with the exception of the
Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, where public servants did report conflict of
interest; however this was done in accordance with the law and, therefore, did not constitute a
violation. For example, in 2013, a council member at the Ministry reported having a personal
interest in the decision of the collegial body, and refused to participate in the decision-making. In
2015, a member of the Staff Selection Commission at the Ministry declared self-recusal on the basis
of having a personal interest and refused to take part in evaluating a job candidate.
Ministries that do not have departments responsible for detecting violations of the Law on Conflict
of Interest and Corruption in Public Service are unaware of possible violations. These ministries
responded to our requests by saying that they did not have any cases of conflict of interest. For
example, a response from the Ministry of Sport read: there is no separate department of this kind
and the Ministry has no statistics on the violations of the aforementioned Articles of the Law on
Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service in 2010-2015.
A similar response was provided by the Office of the State Minister of Diaspora: the Office of the
State Minister does not have a department responsible for investigating the compliance with and
responding to violations of the provisions of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public

53

Businessmen in Politics and Politicians in Business: Problem of Revolving Door in Georgia, Transparency
International Georgia, 2013, http://goo.gl/6xlO5z

15

Service. Therefore, no violations of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service
have been identified in the Office of the State Minister in 2010-2015.
Responses of this kind suggest that the law is not effectively enforced in these public agencies.
The remaining ministries responded that the departments responsible for monitoring the
compliance with the legal provisions of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption have either
found no violations of the law or this information is available elsewhere.
Statistics on the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service

Existence of a
responsible
department

Statistics on
the violation
of the law

Number of
submitted selfrecusal statements
(Article 11,
Paragraph 2)

Number of
cases of
incompatibility
of duties (Article
13) detected

Number of
corruption
offenses
detected

Number of
employees
dismissed on
the basis of
corruption
offenses

Ministry of
Foreign
Affairs

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Energy

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Economy

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Health

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Refugees

Internal Audit
Department;
Division of Human
Resources
Management and
Development

Ministry of
Education

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Agriculture

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Regional
Developmen
t and
Infrastructur
e

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Finance

Internal Audit
Department

Ministry of
Culture

Internal Audit and


Monitoring
Department

Ministry of
Sport

No designated
department,
however, if
needed, several
departments can
conduct
monitoring.

16

Ministry of
Defense

General Inspection

Ministry of
Justice

Ministry of
Internal
Affairs

Ministry of
Prisons

General Inspection

Ministry of
Environment
Protection

Inspection Division
of the Internal
Audit Department

Office of the
State
Minister of
European
and EuroAtlantic
Integration

Administrative
Department

Office of the
State
Minister of
Reconciliatio
n and Civic
Equality

Administrative
Department

Office of the
State
Minister of
Diaspora

Does not exist


Even though the examined ministries reported having detected no violations of the Law on Conflict
of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, violations of various provisions of this law have been
identified by non-governmental organizations and the media at all levels of government, as well as in
the executive and the legislative branches and in the local government bodies. For example:

As of May 5, 2015, the Governor of Imereti region was also a director of a company he held
shares in, which is a clear violation of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public
Service.54

For several years, Mariam Valishvili, Deputy Minister of Energy since 2008, was also the
director of TOT Energy (one of the companies where Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze had a
stake), in violation of Article 13, Paragraph 4 of the Law on Conflict of Interest and
Corruption in Public Service, according to which, a public servant may not hold a position in
any enterprise.55


54

Georgia's Governors: Biographies and Assets, Transparency International Georgia, 2015,


http://goo.gl/sgr0eG
55
Businessmen in Politics and Politicians in Business: Problem of Revolving Door in Georgia, Transparency
International Georgia, 2013, http://goo.gl/6xlO5z

17

Chairman of Poti City Council Aleksandre Topuria filed his asset declaration on December 2,
2014, without fully including the business shares held by his family members in the
document. Specifically, as of June 2015, his wife Eteri Topuria held 100% shares in two
companies and 50% in one company.56

As of April 2015, Deputy Mayor of Batumi also held 100% shares of Elit-Flora Ltd. In addition,
the Deputy Mayor did not declare his shares in two companies. Therefore, his asset
declaration does not include information about the income received from these
companies.57 Similar violations were identified in relation to the Chairperson and several
Members of Batumi City Council.58

These examples illustrate that the violations of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in
Public Service are not uncommon, while the detection and prevention mechanisms are weak.
The response to violations is also largely ineffective. For example, after Transparency International
Georgia informed the Anti-Corruption Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs about an incomplete
asset declaration filed by a governor, the law enforcement agency responded by saying that Article
355 of the Criminal Code (entry of incomplete or incorrect information in an asset declaration) had
not been violated. It is unclear how law enforcement agencies determine whether inaccurate or
incomplete information was included in an asset declaration intentionally. The fact that the AntiCorruption Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not launch an investigation under Article
355 of the Criminal Code points to the weakness of response mechanisms and a lack of political
will.59
The fact that the response mechanisms are either weak or non-existent, even though violations of
the law are common, is undoubtedly one of the main problems of anti-corruption policy.
The study also revealed that a large majority of ministries have not developed internal mechanisms
of disclosure (for whistleblowers) and instead follow the general rules established by the Law on
Conflict of Interests and Corruption in Public Service. Only a few ministries have issued clarifications
on the mechanisms and procedures of disclosure. For example, provisions related to disclosure are
included in the Employee Handbook that was approved by the Minister of Economy (Order N 11/130, April 28, 2014); According to Ministry of Finance, its Internal Audit Department runs an
electronic mailbox (internalaudit@mof.ge) and a hot line (226-22-22) that can be used to disclose
official misconduct. The information gathered this way is then published on the Ministry website and
inside its administrative building. The Ministry also stated that no other internal mechanism of
disclosure had been developed and no separate legal acts had been approved. The Ministry of
Finance explained that the administrative website of the LEPL Civil Service Bureau would serve as a


56

Commercial Activities of Public Officials in Samegrelo Municipalities and their Family Members,
Transparency International Georgia, 2015, http://goo.gl/m9zqC6
57
Commercial Activities of Batumi City Hall Officials, Transparency International Georgia, 2015,
http://goo.gl/mT9W1k
58
Commercial Activities of Batumi City Council Members, Transparency International Georgia, 2015,
http://goo.gl/E1PHAh
59
The Anti-Corruption Agency of the MIA does not respond effectively to alleged violations in asset
declarations of public officials, Transparency International Georgia, 2015, http://goo.gl/thMC8A

18

technical mechanism of disclosure by allowing whistleblowers to disclose misconduct and by making


this information electronically available to the appropriate authorities.
The Ministry of Environment Protection relies on the statute of its Internal Audit Department when
dealing with whistleblowing. According to the Ministry, the Inspection Division of the Internal Audit
Department investigates cases of official misconduct by the Ministry staff on the basis of received
statements, complaints, notifications, or other information. A whistleblower application may be
received by an employee of the Ministry, as well as a former employee or a third person. The fact
that public agencies are not required by law to develop clear internal mechanisms of disclosure is a
major shortcoming of the current Georgian legislation on whistleblower protection. The existence of
clear and simple internal disclosure procedures that public agency employees are familiar with is an
important component of best practice on whistleblower protection.60
Only 3 of the 19 examined ministries reported having had cases of disclosure in 2010-2015. The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported 1 such case. The Ministry of Regional Development and
Infrastructure reported having 1 disclosure case in 2011, 2 in 2012, 1 in 2013 and 2 in 2015.
According to the Ministry of Environment Protection, 317 of the reports produced by its Internal
Audit Department resulted from the inquiries launched on the basis of statements filed by current
and former employees: 151 from May 4, 2013 to December 31, 2013; 154 in 2014, and 12 in 2015
(to date). The Ministry explained that its Internal Audit Department did not have the need to use the
whistleblower protection legislation for any of the received whistleblower applications. According to
the received information, none of the ministries had used the whistleblower protection legislation
since its adoption in 2009.
Statistics on the Whistleblower Protection portion of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in
Public Service

Existence of an internal
disclosure mechanism

Number of
whistleblowi
ng cases

Number of times the


legislation on
whistleblower
protection was used

Number of trainings /
information meetings on
whistleblower
protection

Number of
violations of
3
4
Articles 20 , 20
5
and 20 detected

Ministry of
Foreign Affairs

Ministry of
Energy

Ministry of
Economy

Employee Handbook
(Ministers Order)

Ministry of Health

Ministry of
Refugees

Ministry of
Education

Ministry of
Agriculture


60

http://www.transparency.ge/sites/default/files/post_attachments/whistleblower_protection_and_georgia__policy_brief_july_2015.pdf

19

Ministry of
Regional
Development and
Infrastructure
Ministry of
Finance

E-mail box and hotline

Ministry of
Culture

Ministry of Sport

Ministry of
Defense

Ministry of
Justice

Ministry of
Internal Affairs

Ministry of
Prisons

The Inspection Division


of the Internal Audit
Department
investigates cases of
official misconduct by
the Ministry staff on
the basis of received
statements,
complaints,
notifications, or other
information. The
statement may be
received by an
employee of the
Ministry, as well as a
former employee or a
third person.

317

Office of the
State Minister of
European and
Euro-Atlantic
Integration

Office of the
State Minister of
Reconciliation
and Civic Equality

Office of the
State Minister of
Diaspora

Ministry of
Environment
Protection


According to Article 2011 of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, issues of
disclosure are to be regulated by special legislation for the Ministry Defense, the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and the State Security Service. In order to check the existence of this legislation,
Transparency International Georgia requested public information from the Parliamentary
Committee on Defense and Security, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the
State Security Service.

20

The Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security stated that the question fell outside its
mandate and redirected it to the Ministries of Defense and Internal Affairs and the State Security
Service.
The State Security Service did not respond to this request, as it did with all other requests we sent as
part of this research. Both Ministries (Defense and Internal Affairs) stated that they are working on
developing the special legislation, but did not provide any information on specific deadlines.
Several recent whistleblowing cases demonstrated the necessity for the Ministries of Defense and
Internal Affairs and the State Security Service to develop their special legislation on whistleblower
protection. For example, on September 27, 2015, the media reported on a video which Giorgi
Babunashvili, a former senior lieutenant of the police, had obtained from the Ministry of Internal
Affairs. The video revealed possible violations inside the Ministry. According to media reports, the
former police officer is currently in Europe and is seeking political asylum. Also, in March 2015, the
Ministry of Internal Affairs dismissed a police officer Ruslan Baziashvili, who had provided
information about possible violations in the Ministry to a Member of Parliament from the United
National Movement, Givi Targamadze. Moreover, the Chief Prosecutors Office launched an
investigation over possible abuse of power against nine employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Both Giorgi Babunashvili and Ruslan Baziashvili are former police officers who disclosed information
that revealed possible violations that harmed public interest.61 Despite this, and because of the
abovementioned legal shortcomings, these people cannot currently enjoy protection as
whistleblowers, which obstructs successful prevention corruption and other offenses.

Civil Service Bureau


Transparency International Georgia requested information from the Civil Service Bureau on cases of
conflict of interest identified in 2010-2015.

According to the Civil Service Bureau, it does not have information on any violations related to
conflict between a public servants property or other personal interest and the interest of public
service, illegal property and incompatibility of duties.

The Bureau also does not have any information on cases of public servants or their family members
receiving gifts, the value of which exceeds the limit set by law.

The Civil Service Bureau provided TI Georgia with information on the violation by public officials of
deadlines for filing asset declaration and information meetings on whistleblower protection
organized in 2009-2015.

In 2010-2015 the Bureau identified 39 cases of public officials failing to file their asset declarations
within two months of appointment (Article 14, Paragraph 1), five cases of officials failing to file
annual declarations during their service (Article 14, Paragraph 2), and 12 cases of them failing to
submit declarations within two months of leaving their position.


61

Government Must Ensure Protection of Whistleblowers in Interior and Defense Ministries, Transparency
International Georgia, 2015, http://goo.gl/h9M8UO

21

The Civil Service Bureau reported that for each of the above violations, the officials were fined for
GEL 1,000 through individual administrative-legal acts. 15 of these acts were challenged in court, of
which:

A) 7 claims were fully granted;
B) 1 claim was not granted;
C) 1 claim was left unexamined;
D) 1 claim was recalled by the plaintiff.
E) 4 claims are currently being considered by the court.

The Civil Service Bureau also reported that there has not been a single case of criminal liability
having been imposed on an official for a failure to file an asset declaration after the initial fine
(Article 20, Paragraph 4).

In 2015, the Civil Service Bureau conducted three trainings for the employees of all 19 ministries and
their Internal Audit Departments on the strengthening of whistleblower protection. However, these
trainings were not mentioned in the responses from the Ministries of Energy, Prisons, Finance and
Diaspora. In addition, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy involves training two representatives of
each local government body on the issues of ethics and whistleblower protection in 2015.

In many cases, attendance to the whistleblower protection trainings was low, which suggests that
these trainings were probably not very effective in supporting the implementation of the legislation
on whistleblower protection in the public sector. Therefore, in the future, it is necessary to increase
the number of participants in these meetings.

Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission


Transparency International Georgia decided to determine whether the Georgian National Energy
and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GNERC) has a department responsible for investigating
conflict of interest of its employees. We also inquired about the attempts at improper influence or
illegal interference as defined by the Law on National Regulatory Authorities, and requested
information on violations of norms of ethics determined by Article 15 of this law in 2010-2015.

The Commission responded that the law does not require it to set up a department responsible for
investigating conflict of interests among its employees. On April 8, 2003, GNERC approved
Resolution N2 on the Rules of Ethical Behavior of Commission Members and Employees, Article 4,
Paragraph 6 of which requires commission members and employees to declare self-recusal when
dealing with circumstances described in Article 92 of the General Administrative Code (ineligibility to
participate in administrative proceedings) or other circumstances that may affect the impartiality of
their work.

The Commission reported that, in 2010-2015, there were no cases or attempts of improper influence
or illegal interference, and no violations of ethics norms. Therefore, during the same period, none of
the decisions made by the GNERC were been overturned due to improper influence and illegal
interference.

22


Despite this response from the Commission, non-governmental organizations have raised questions
about conflict of interest within GNERC, specifically in relation to its former chairman Guram
Chalagashvili. According to his asset declaration, Chalagashvilis wife works at Georgian Water and
Power, the company operating Tbilisis water supply system, where she earned a total of GEL 25,024
in 2012. This appears to be a violation of the legal provision which prohibits family members of
independent regulators from involvement in private companies operating in respective sectors and,
once again, points to the poor monitoring and enforcement of existing restrictions. 62

Georgian National Communications Commission


The Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) responded that it does not have a
department tasked with reviewing conflict of interest among its employees. This is because GNCC
members (5 in total) already have the status of public officials, meaning that their conflict of interest
is examined by the President, the Government and Parliament prior to their appointment, while
other employees do not have the same status. Therefore, the Commission has neither the need nor
the obligation to investigate conflict of interest of its employees.

In addition, according to the Commission, it has not identified any violations of the Law on National
Regulatory Authorities.

Considering this context, the case of former GNCC chairman Irakli Chikovani is worth mentioning.63
According to the information obtained by the media and non-governmental organizations, as well as
a report prepared by the Temporary Parliamentary Investigative Commission, Irakli Chikovani had a
conflict of interest during his service as member and chairman of GNCC. Specifically, Chikovani held
35% shares in the Magi Stili Media company, which was mainly involved in television advertising. The
Parliamentary Investigative Commission concluded that, while performing his official duties,
Chikovani was guided by his business interests rather than the law.

The Temporary Parliamentary Investigative Commission also established that another former GNCC
Chairman Karlo Kvitaishvili had a conflict of interest as well: Specifically, political incompatibility.
From August 6, 2005 until April 24, 2013, Kvitaishvili had served as a representative of the United
National Movement political party in the Central Election Commission. This was confirmed by the
United National Movement. Based on this information, the Investigative Commission concluded that
during his service as a member of the GNCC Kvitaishvili concurrently represented a political party in
another public agency.64

The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) also identified signs of nepotism in
the GNCC. According to the organization, GNCC very rarely announced vacancies publicly. IDFI

62

Businessmen in Politics and Politicians in Business: Problem of Revolving Door in Georgia, Transparency
International Georgia, 2013, http://goo.gl/6xlO5z
63
Businessmen in Politics and Politicians in Business: Problem of Revolving Door in Georgia, Transparency
International Georgia, 2013, http://goo.gl/6xlO5z
64
Report of the Temporary Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the Activities of the Georgian National
Communications Commission, Parliament of Georgia, reporting period: May 1, 2013 - November 1, 2013,
http://goo.gl/WUvvWU

23

believes that the legal amendments that recently introduced a requirement for public agencies to
conduct recruitment only through public competition have resulted in the GNCC almost exclusively
hiring supernumerary specialists. The problem is that the GNCC does not have a limit on its
supernumerary staff, meaning that, theoretically, it can hire unlimited number of employees
through a nontransparent process. IDFI found that, in 2012-2015, the GNCC had hired 51 new
employees, some of them being the relatives of MPs. For example, brother-in-law of MP Ana
Mirotadze and son-in-law of MP Irakli Tripolski had started working at the GNCC as supernumerary
specialists after the elections. The appointment of Tamta Tepnadze, former employee of the
Parliamentary Committee on Economics, as the GNCC Public Defender also raised questions. The
commission tasked with the selecting of the Public Defender was headed by MP Zurab Tkemaladze,
chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Economics, whose grandchild Tamta Tepnadze later
hired in her department at the GNCC, together with her bridesmaid and the son of MP Dimitri
Khundadze, chairman of the Health and Social Issues Committee.65 Such staffing policy gives the
impression that GNCC is not immune to external influence and raises questions about its
independence.

The fact that, in recent years, Parliament, media and non-governmental organizations have
identified possible cases of conflict of interest and nepotism in the Georgian National
Communications Commission illustrates that the existing mechanisms and legal framework cannot
effectively prevent of conflict of interest, corruption and nepotism.

Lobbying Activities
Transparency International Georgia requested public information on registered lobbyists since 1999
from the Government Administration, Parliament, and local government bodies of Kutaisi, Batumi
and Tbilisi

According to the information received from Parliament, there were a total of 27 cases of lobbyist
registration in 2003-2015, while 7 persons were denied registration. During this period, a total of 19
persons have exercised their right to register as lobbyists in Parliament. Tbilisi City Council reported
that only one person had registered as a lobbyist in 2014, and that none had been refused
registration in 2003-2015. Tbilisi City Hall reported that its database does not hold information about
registered lobbyists. The local government bodies of Batumi and Kutaisi reported having had no
cases of lobbyist registration either.

The above information shows that lobbying in Georgia is not a widespread practice. However, this
issue still requires attention since, without appropriate regulations and enforcement, it may give rise
to serious corruption risks, specifically in relation to the so-called revolving door phenomenon.

For the purpose of preventing corruption risks, the Law on Lobbying Activities determines work
position as one of the bases for denying lobbyist registration. Article 6, Paragraph 1, Subparagraph
a) of the law states that a lobbyist registration shall be denied if: a) a citizens work position is

65

Signs of Nepotism in the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC), Institute for Development
of Freedom of Information (IDFI), 2015, https://goo.gl/f4PTny

24

incompatible with conducting lobbying activities.66 According to Article 65 (restriction on


employment) of the Law on Civil Service, for a period of three years after leaving civil service, a civil
servant may not start working at an institution or enterprise which was under his/her systematic
official supervision for the preceding three years. In addition, he/she may not receive income from
such institution or enterprise during this period.67

During lobbyist registering, proper attention must be given to the above regulations and in cases of
revolving door, the person must be denied registration as a lobbyist.

Parliamentary Committee on Procedural Issues and Rules



The Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of Parliament is responsible for examining the
compatibility of official and entrepreneurial activities of MPs with the status of a Member of
Parliament and responding accordingly. In 2012-2015, the Committee had examined a total of 19
cases of MPs taking incompatible positions and in each case had requested the Parliament Bureau to
terminate their mandate before the end of their term, to which Parliament had complied.

The Committee stated that it systematically controls the MPs' participation in entrepreneurial
activities, although it left our questions on specific procedures and frequency of inspection
unanswered. The Committee reported that, in 2012-2015, there were 69 cases of MPs giving up
their company shares and 10 cases of them leaving the position of company director.

According to the Committee, it requests the information about the MPs' asset declarations
periodically and wherever necessary, and analyzes it on the basis of the Parliamentary Rules of
Procedure and the Statute of the Committee. No such requests have been sent during the reporting
period. However, the Committee does retrieve the MPs' asset declarations from the Civil Service
Bureau and examines them for limited purposes, such as provision of accommodation for the MPs or
analysis of the incompatibility of entrepreneurial activities with the MPs' status. For this purpose,
the Committee has examined the asset declarations of almost all MPs.

The Committee also oversees MP compliance with the obligations set by the Parliamentary Rules of
Procedure. However, it does not keep record of its responses to these violations, because it is mainly
involved in preventing such violations and often responds to them in ways other than in writing.

Despite the fact that the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of Parliament monitors the MPs'
asset declarations, TI Georgia identified several cases where MPs had provided inaccurate and/or
incomplete information in their declarations. For example, as of January 27, 2014, a number of MPs
had included incomplete information about their current and past business activities in their asset
declarations.68 Also, as of December 2014, a number of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti majoritarian MPs

66

Law of Georgia on Lobbying Activities, Article 6


Law of Georgia on Civil Service, Article 65
68
Undisclosed Business Activities of Members of Georgian Parliament, Transparency International Georgia,
2014, http://goo.gl/ZqlL99
67

25

had not fully declared their property and business activities.69 Cases such as these illustrate that
certain norms of the anti-corruption legislation are not being implemented effectively. In addition,
violations that are being detected are often left unaddressed by the relevant authorities.

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Chief Prosecutors Office


The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that, since 2010, it has launched investigations on just a
single case of accepting a gift prohibited by law (Article 340 of the Criminal Code) and a single case
of illegal participation in entrepreneurial activities (Article 337). The Chief Prosecutor's Office,
however, has launched investigations on seven cases based on Article 340 and nine cases based on
Article 337 in the same period. It should be noted that the information provided by the Ministry of
Internal Affairs and the Chief Prosecutor's Office includes violations detected in all public agencies
operating in Georgia and not just the ministries examined as part of this research. The Ministry of
Internal Affairs also reported that its Anti-Corruption Agency had not launched any investigations on
Article 355 of the Criminal Code, which involves failure to submit an asset declaration or entry of
incomplete or incorrect information therein.
Article of the Criminal Code

Number of launched investigations in


2010-2015

Number of launched criminal


prosecutions 2010-2015

11

182 (unlawful appropriation or embezzlement of


another person's property or property rights
through use of ones official position)

1818

1533

192 (illegal entrepreneurial activities)

193

194 (legalization of illegal income (money


laundering))

216

194 (use, purchase, possession or sale of


property acquired through the legalisation of
illegal income)

205 (concealment of property using fraudulent


and/or sham transactions)

220 (abuse of powers)

79

68

220 (Negligence)

221(commercial bribery)

98

81

164 (vote buying)


69

Undeclared Property of MPs Representing Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti Municipalities, Transparency


International Georgia, 2014, http://goo.gl/ArWMJL

26

332 (abuse of official powers)

825

356

333 (exceeding of official powers)

205

337 (illegal participation in entrepreneurial


activities)

338 (bribe-taking)

520

456

339 (bribe-giving)

136

159

339 (influence peddling)

23

25

340 (accepting gifts prohibited by law)

180

287

341 (forgery by an official)

355 (failure to submit the asset declaration or


entry of incomplete or incorrect information
therein)


The above statistics are not enough to draw any definitive conclusions regarding the effectiveness of
implementation of the anti-corruption legislation. However, the problems described in this report,
specifically, those concerning asset declarations and the revolving door phenomenon, indicate that
greater attention needs to be paid to the implementation of the existing legislation in practice. This
can be achieved by strengthening the existing control mechanisms (e.g., more frequent and
comprehensive inspections of civil servants by responsible internal structural units) as well as by
creating new mechanisms, such as an independent anti-corruption agency.

V. Conclusion
Anti-corruption provisions have long existed in the Georgian legislation and have been constantly
undergoing change and improvement. However, effective implementation of the anti-corruption
legislation in the Georgian public sector, including crime detection and prevention, remains a
challenge. Our research revealed a number of problem areas. One of the main obstacles for this
research was incomplete information provided by public agencies. In some cases, we had the
impression that public agencies deliberately avoided answering certain questions. The following are
the key findings of our research and the corresponding recommendations:
Findings:

Most ministries examined during this research have a department (usually the Internal Audit
Department) responsible for identifying, investigating and sanctioning the violations of
norms established by the Law on Civil Service and the Law on Conflict of Interest and
Corruption in Public Service. However, in many cases, these departments are ineffective,
since there are no clear regulations on the frequency and scale of relevant inspections.
27

The fact that public agency departments responsible for detecting violations have not found
any reinforces our doubts about their effectiveness, especially since many independent
studies conducted by non-governmental organizations and the media have repeatedly
shown that violations of the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service are
common on all levels of government, in the legislative, the executive and the local
government bodies.
Some public agencies do not have departments responsible for detecting violations of the
Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service and, therefore, are unaware of
possible violations. These public agencies responded to our requests by saying that there
were no cases of conflict of interest.
Under the current law, no public agency is responsible for verifying and reviewing the asset
declarations filed annually by public officials. The facts presented in this report point to the
need for systematic monitoring of asset declarations and verification of filed information in
order to effectively enforce the conflict of interest and anti-corruption regulation. We
welcome the amendments to the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public
Service, hereby, starting January 1, 2017, the Civil Service Bureau will monitor the
compliance of asset declarations with the law and verifying the accuracy and completeness
of the declared information. However, the problem will remain unaddressed for the
remaining one-year period until the amendment enters into force.
The majority of public agencies do not have a clear internal whistleblowing mechanism. The
existence of such a mechanism is not required by the law, which is a significant obstacle for
the implementation of the existing legislation on whistleblower protection.
Public agencies that are obligated by law to develop special legislation on whistleblower
protection (the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the State Security
Service) have yet to do so. Both Ministries have stated that they are working on developing
this legislation, but have not disclosed any information about the process or its deadlines.
Seminars and information meetings on whistleblower protection legislation conducted by
the Civil Service Bureau are being attended by only a handful of employees from public
agencies. This fails to meet the goal of having public servants be thoroughly informed about
the issue.
The revolving door provision (Article 65 - restriction on entry on duty) of the Law on Civil
Service is the most problematic anti-corruption provision. The regulations included in this
provision are quite weak and often do not address corruption risks. More specifically:
o The law does not specify which public agency is responsible for determining whether
Article 65 has been violated. It is also unclear what the response mechanism is for
the cases where a public servants relocation from public to the private sector has
been identified as a violation of Article 65.
o The mechanism for responding to violations identified during the movement of
public officials between the supervisor and supervised public agencies is
problematic. If a civil servant applies for a job at a public agency that they had
supervised during the past 3 years, the recipient public agency must refuse them
employment on the basis of Article 65. However, it is unclear what the response
mechanism is when the recipient public agency violates this norm.

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Finally, the current wording of the Law on Civil Service suggests that the restrictions
set by Article 65 do not apply to local government employees, which is also a
problem.
The State Security Service did not reply to any of our freedom of information requests,
which points to its lack of transparency and accountability. This is especially alarming,
considering the fact that the Anti-Corruption Agency is part of the State Security Service.
o

Based on these key findings Transparency International Georgia has developed the following
recommendations:

The public agency departments responsible for enforcing the Law on Civil Service and the
Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service must intensify their efforts to
detect and prevent violations. The law must clearly set this obligation and must determine
the frequency and the scope of the relevant inspections. The capacity of these departments
must also be strengthened, including through the training of their employees.
According to an amendment to the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public
Service, on January 1, 2017, the Civil Service Bureau will start monitoring the compliance of
asset declarations with the law and verifying the accuracy and completeness of the declared
information. However, the problem will remain unaddressed for the remaining one-year
period. We believe that the part of the amendment that grants the Civil Service Bureau the
right to respond to violations of asset declaration must enter into force before January 1,
2017, so that there is a legal mechanism of responding to inaccuracies established by nongovernmental organizations and the media.
Public agencies must develop clear and simple internal procedures for whistleblowing and
provide detailed information about these procedures to their employees.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the State Security Service must
adopt effective legislation on whistleblower protection that will be based on the relevant
best practice. Alternatively, the existing legislation must be extended to cover the
employees of these agencies.
The Civil Service Bureau must continue its information campaign on whistleblower
protection and, to the extent possible, must widen the group of public servants attending its
information meetings and seminars. The information campaign could include the
preparation and distribution of information booklets, videos, flyers and guidebooks.
Article 65 (restriction of employment) of the Law on Civil Service which regulates the
revolving door must be extended to local government employees. Other shortcomings of
this provision must also be addressed.
Transparency International Georgia believes that an independent anti-corruption agency
must be created in order to effectively enforce anti-corruption legislation. The creation of
this agency is part of the best practice in combating corruption. Among other things, this
agency must be tasked with improving the legislation and monitoring its implementation.
This would solve the problems discussed in this report arise from the absence of a body
responsible for enforcing anti-corruption legislation.

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