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Georgia

Introduction of the Public Officials’ Asset Declarations Monitoring System (GE0050)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: LEPL –Civil Service Bureau

Support Institution(s): Government of Georgia; Anti-Corruption Council; LEPL – Data Exchange Agency

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption Institutions, Asset Disclosure, Capacity Building, E-Government, Oversight of Budget/Fiscal Policies, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Georgia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: Yes Starred

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Introduction of the public officials’ asset declarations monitoring system; In compliance with the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, starting from 2017, the Civil Service Bureau will conduct monitoring of the asset declarations of public officials. Monitoring shall be conducted annually by an independent committee based on obvious and objective criteria, also for the declarations randomly selected by the electronic system. Prior to the civil service reform, this issue was not regulated by the law. There was no tool to audit the economic interest and property data disclosed by public officials. Monitoring of the public officials’ asset declarations aims to improve accountability of public officials and prevent corruptive offences. Date of Implementation: 2016-2017; Issues to be Addressed: The public officials’ asset declarations monitoring system is currently functioning. However, in order to further improve, it is necessary to introduce a declaration monitoring mechanism. For this purpose during 2015 a draft of amendments to the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service with regard to the public officials’ asset declarations monitoring system was adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on October 27, 2015 and will be enacted in 2017.There was no tool to audit the economic interest and asset disclosed by public officials.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

✪ 9. Introduction of the public officials’ asset declarations monitoring system

Commitment Text:

In compliance with the Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service, starting from 2017, the Civil Service Bureau will conduct monitoring of the asset declarations of public officials. Monitoring shall be conducted annually by an independent committee based on obvious and objective criteria, also for the declarations randomly selected by the electronic system. Prior to the civil service reform, this issue was not regulated by the law. There was no tool to audit the economic interest and property data disclosed by public officials. Monitoring of the public officials’ asset declarations aims to improve accountability of public officials and prevent corruptive offences.

Responsible institution: LEPL – Civil Service Bureau

Supporting institution(s): Government of Georgia, Anti-Corruption Council, LEPL – Data Exchange Agency

Start date: March 2016 End date: December 2017

Editorial note: This commitment is clearly relevant to OGP values as written, has transformative potential impact, and is substantially or completely implemented and therefore qualifies as a starred commitment.

Commitment Aim:

This pre-existing commitment (since the second action plan in 2014) aimed to create a formal verification mechanism for public officials’ asset declarations. Before, public officials were prone to hiding important information regarding their assets or providing wrong data in their declarations and there was no official mechanism to verify the accuracy of the provided content.   

Status

Midterm: Substantial

At the midterm, the commitment had been substantially implemented. The legal amendments necessary for the operation of the new verification mechanism were approved by parliament in December 2016 and entered into force on 1 January 2017. According to these amendments, the Civil Service Bureau (CSB) started monitoring public officials’ asset declarations, which were either selected randomly through the unified electronic system or reported as suspicious by external stakeholders. However, the CSB was not able to create an independent commission in charge of using special methodology for selecting asset declarations for monitoring due to an insufficient number of applications submitted for commission membership. For more information, please see the 2016–2017 IRM midterm report.

End of term: Substantial

As mentioned above, the CSB was unable to create an independent commission to be composed of CSO and academia representatives. This was due to the insufficient number of applications from academia representatives submitted for commission membership. CSOs critically assessed the provision allowing the CSB to refuse to create the independent commission if there are insufficient applications, arguing that civic groups and journalists should be given an opportunity to apply and help fill the academic quota. They also complained about the CSB’s lack of effort to proactively promote the application announcement through various online and offline sources. The creation of the commission was an important part of the commitment since the commission was supposed to independently select public officials’ asset declarations for monitoring based on the special criteria aimed to fight the corruption in public service. Therefore, the commitment remains incomplete at the end of term.

Did It Open Government?

Public Accountability: Major

Prior to this commitment, there was no official mechanism to verify the accuracy of public officials’ asset declarations. During the reporting period, the CSB used its electronic system to randomly select a total of 284 asset declarations for verification. In addition, the CSB received three reports from external stakeholders, including Transparency International Georgia, to monitor asset declarations of public servants working in the offices of regional governors, local municipal bodies, courts and parliament. Of these, the CSB found irregularities and missing information in 224 declarations and consequently fined their authors or referred them to the Prosecutor’s Office. [25] Based on recent amendments to the law, new sanctions were introduced for violating asset declaration rules, such as a reprimand for minor technical errors and a 20% deduction of the salary in the amount of no less than GEL 500 for providing incomplete or wrong data. At the same time, officials continue to face a fine of GEL 1,000 for late submissions and criminal liability for repeated failure to submit declarations. [26] Finally, in December 2017, the CSB published its first report summarizing the monitoring results of asset declarations described above. [27]

The aforementioned work of the CSB in monitoring asset declarations of Georgian public officials constitutes a major step forward for government accountability in the fight against corruption in public service, especially considering the Bureau’s willingness to address requests of external stakeholders to monitor suspicious declarations. However, these efforts were limited due to the CSB’s inability to establish an independent commission of CSOs and academia representatives who were supposed to use more robust criteria for selecting which declarations to monitor. The establishment of this commission would contribute more significantly to preventing the corrupt behavior of public officials.

Carried Forward?

The commitment was not carried into the new Action Plan 2018−2019. However, this is an important area for anti-corruption efforts in the country.

Civil society recommended that the government determine exactly how many declarations of public officials can be verified from each agency and which specific types of officials can submit classified declarations. They also believe that the CSB should not refuse to create the independent commission based on insufficient applications and should amend the law to allow more flexibility in this regard. For instance, the creation of the commission should not depend upon CSO and academia applications; other interested stakeholders such as journalists should also be given a chance to apply and fill the membership quota. [29] A related suggestion is to promote the application announcement beyond the CSB webpage, including various online, offline, and social media sources. The government plans to create the independent commission and to proactively promote the application process for commission membership per CSO recommendations.

Finally, stakeholders suggested that the government establish an independent anti-corruption agency with authority to investigate corruption cases of high-level politicians and government officials. The current mechanism is an anti-corruption council at the Ministry of Justice, which is composed of government representatives and a few CSOs, but it lacks the mandate to investigate high-level politicians, something CSOs have criticized for a long time. At the same time, the State Security Service is also reluctant to investigate cases involving the ruling party or high-level state officials. As an alternative, CSOs suggest creating a completely independent body that would be given an authority to investigate the cases of so-called “elite corruption.” They believe this would give the fight against corruption considerable momentum at all levels of government in Georgia.

[25] Civil Service Bureau, “2017 Results of Asset Declaration Monitoring” (29 Dec. 2017), https://bit.ly/2QqBUgB.

[26] Law of Georgia, “Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service,” Art. 20, doc. no. 982 (17 Oct. 1997), http://bit.ly/1Lo3Pbg.

[27] Civil Service Bureau, “2017 Results of Asset Declaration Monitoring.”

[28] Giorgi Nasrashvili (Senior Analyst, Transparency International), Lasha Senashvili (Senior Analyst, TI), and Gigi Chikhladze (Senior Lawyer, TI), interview with IRM researchers, 23 Aug. 2018; Levan Avalishvii (Programs Director) and Saba Buadze, (Anti-Corruption Direction Head), interview with IRM researchers, 22 Aug. 2018.

[29] Nasrashvili, Senashvili, and Chikhladze, interview.


Commitments

  1. Improved Public Services

    GE0066, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Citizen Engagement Platform

    GE0067, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Unified Authentication System

    GE0068, 2018, E-Government

  4. Economic Governance

    GE0069, 2018, E-Government

  5. Environment Portal

    GE0070, 2018, E-Government

  6. Strengthen Anti-Corruption Institutions

    GE0071, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  7. Monitor SDGs

    GE0072, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Citizen Engagement Legislation

    GE0073, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  9. Publish Court Decisions

    GE0074, 2018, E-Government

  10. Increasing Transparency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

    GE0075, 2018, E-Government

  11. Citizen Participation in Public Finance

    GE0076, 2018, Audits and Controls

  12. Transparent Public Funding System

    GE0077, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Public Procurement Improvements

    GE0078, 2018, E-Government

  14. Housing Policy Planning

    GE0079, 2018, Land & Spatial Planning

  15. Openness and Accountability of State-Owned Enterprises

    GE0080, 2018, E-Government

  16. Transparency and Good Governance

    GE0081, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Open Data Collection and Publication

    GE0082, 2018, E-Government

  18. Participation for Disabled Individuals

    GE0083, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  19. Participatory Budgeting

    GE0084, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Your Idea for the Zugdidi Mayor

    GE0085, 2018, Capacity Building

  21. Electronic Services

    GE0086, 2018, E-Government

  22. I. Gov. Zugdidi

    GE0087, 2018, Capacity Building

  23. Service and Citizen Satisfaction Assessment

    GE0088, 2018, Capacity Building

  24. Promoting and Monitoring SDGs

    GE0089, 2018, Legislature

  25. Citizen Involvement in Budget

    GE0090, 2018, E-Government

  26. Technology for Transparency

    GE0091, 2018, E-Government

  27. Citizen Engagement Center

    GE0092, 2018, Capacity Building

  28. Raising Public Awareness About Parliamentary Democracy

    GE0093, 2018, E-Government

  29. Electronic Innovations for More Transparency and Efficiency of Public Procurement

    GE0056, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Starred commitment Adoption of the Environmental Assessment Code

    GE0057, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Introduction of a Mobile App as an Alternative Channel to Connect to “112”

    GE0058, 2016, E-Government

  32. Development of Local Councils for Crime Prevention

    GE0059, 2016, Public Service Delivery

  33. Development of a Guidebook for Economic Agents

    GE0060, 2016, Capacity Building

  34. Development and Introduction of the Quality Control Program of Commercial Service

    GE0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Presentation of Company Reports in an Electronic Form and Provision of Their Accessibility

    GE0062, 2016, Capacity Building

  36. Introduction of an Electronic Petition Portal and “Zugdidi-INFO” on the Webpage of Zugdidi Municipality Assembly

    GE0063, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Transparency of Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly Meetings

    GE0064, 2016, Capacity Building

  38. Creation of Electronic Mechanism for Local Budget Planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe

    GE0065, 2016, E-Government

  39. Adapting the Public Service Hall to the Needs of the People with Disabilities

    GE0042, 2016, Capacity Building

  40. Launch of the Unified Healthcare System Information Portal

    GE0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  41. Introduction of Electronic Licensing System in the Field of Natural Resources Application

    GE0044, 2016, Capacity Building

  42. Creation of Spatial (Geographic) Data Web-Portal for the Energy Sector

    GE0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  43. Creation of Innovation Ecosystem

    GE0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  44. Electronic Portal for Registering and Disposal of State Property – Customer’S Module

    GE0047, 2016, E-Government

  45. Development of the Freedom of Information Law

    GE0048, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  46. Development of a Monitoring and Assessment System of the Government Policy and Legislative Acts

    GE0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Introduction of the Public Officials’ Asset Declarations Monitoring System

    GE0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  48. Establishing Unified Regulations to Publish Court Decisions

    GE0051, 2016, Judiciary

  49. Development of Transparency and Integrity Strategy and Action Plan in the Field of Regional Development and Infrastructure

    GE0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  50. Improvement of the Database of the Convicted and Transfer of the Penitentiary Department Entirely Onto the Electronic Workflow Management

    GE0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  51. Publication of Phone Tapping Data According to the Nature of the Crime and Geographic Area

    GE0054, 2016, E-Government

  52. Starred commitment Increasing Citizen Participation in Supervision of Public Finances (Public Audit)

    GE0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  53. "Voice of the Consumer"

    GE0013, 2014, Public Participation

  54. JUSTdrive

    GE0014, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  55. Educational Services

    GE0015, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  56. Citizen's Portal (Www.Mygov.Ge)

    GE0016, 2014, Capacity Building

  57. Transformation of Public Libraries for Regional Development

    GE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  58. Digital Signature and Online Authentication

    GE0018, 2014, E-Government

  59. Open Data Portal (Data.Gov.Ge)

    GE0019, 2014, E-Government

  60. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Draft

    GE0020, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  61. Georgia's OGP Forum

    GE0021, 2014, OGP

  62. I-Change.Ge

    GE0022, 2014, E-Government

  63. Transparency of Public Service Recruitment

    GE0023, 2014, E-Government

  64. Asset Declaration Monitoring System

    GE0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  65. Starred commitment Political Party Financial Declarations

    GE0025, 2014, E-Government

  66. Accessibility of Ministry of Interior's Webpage to People with Special Needs

    GE0026, 2014, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Proactive Publishing of Surveillance Data

    GE0027, 2014, Civic Space

  68. Public Awareness of the Electoral Process

    GE0028, 2014, Capacity Building

  69. Transparency of Budgetary Processes

    GE0029, 2014, E-Government

  70. Electronic System of Procurement

    GE0030, 2014, E-Government

  71. Digital Human Resource Management System

    GE0031, 2014, E-Government

  72. Digital Preservation System: E-Archive

    GE0032, 2014, E-Government

  73. Openness and Accessibility of National Archives

    GE0033, 2014, E-Government

  74. Electronic Catalogues of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) Archives

    GE0034, 2014, E-Government

  75. Public Finance Management System

    GE0035, 2014, E-Government

  76. Alternative Channels to "112"

    GE0036, 2014, E-Government

  77. Interactive Statistics and Crime Mapping

    GE0037, 2014, E-Government

  78. Travel Insurance Services

    GE0038, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration

  79. State Property Registration

    GE0039, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  80. Development of Community Centers in Georgia

    GE0040, 2014, E-Government

  81. Introduction of e-Governance in Local Self-Governments

    GE0041, 2014, E-Government

  82. Public Service Hall-Hub of Public Services

    GE0001, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  83. e-Governance in Local Governments

    GE0002, 2012, E-Government

  84. Citizens’ Portal

    GE0003, 2012, E-Government

  85. Easily Accessible and Better Healthcare

    GE0004, 2012, E-Government

  86. Launch Ichange.Ge and Data.Gov.Ge

    GE0005, 2012, E-Government

  87. Platform for Participating in the Legislative Process

    GE0006, 2012, E-Government

  88. Citizens and Justice

    GE0007, 2012, Judiciary

  89. Starred commitment Transparent Party Financing

    GE0008, 2012, Money in Politics

  90. Home-Grown Concept of E-Procurement

    GE0009, 2012, E-Government

  91. e-Declarations

    GE0010, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  92. Technology Cares for Safety: ICCMS, Crime Mapping, and Safety in Your Neighbourhood

    GE0011, 2012, E-Government

  93. NGO Forum

    GE0012, 2012, Capacity Building