Georgia is considered to be at “high risk” of corruption in its defense sector, according to a survey by an anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.
Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index is first of this kind which, according to Transparency International, measures how governments in 82 countries counter corruption in their defense sectors.
The study scores countries from A to F based on the measures they have in place to prevent corruption in the defense sector with A representing “very low” risk and F “critical risk”. D category, in which countries with “high risk” of corruption are grouped, due to its size, has been further divided into “the higher performing” D countries, ‘D+’, and “the lower performing” D countries, ‘D-’.
Georgia has been placed in ‘D-’ category together with fourteen other countries including: Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Turkey.
Research for compiling the survey was carried out by the Transparency International between July 2011 and October 2012; in case of Georgia research was finalized in May, 2012.
According to the report, although since 2004 Georgia has had success in fighting small, low-level corruption, “high-level, elite corruption, and the secrecy of the defence sector still prevail.”
“In general, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is recognised to provide outsiders – the media, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and even members of the legislature – with the information it selects to share, but is rarely compelled to be fully transparent about its activities. Legislative oversight of the defence sector is in place, but formal powers have not, it is found, translated to sufficient scrutiny in practice,” according to the report.
It also says that normal procurement procedures are often bypassed by the Ministry of Defense “with little justification beyond ‘state interest’.” According to the report “purchases are opportunistic in nature, without a formal acquisition strategy openly published.”
Before its publishing, the findings of the survey were shared with governments, which were able to provide their feedbacks. In case of Georgia, new Defense Minister Irakli Alasania responded to the Transparency International that improvements in planning, transparency and measures to combat corruption was high on the agenda of the new leadership of the MoD.
Germany and Australia are the only countries, out of 82 surveyed, deemed to be at “very low risk” of corruption. In overall 70% of countries lack measures to prevent corruption in their defense sectors.