Georgia’s score has slightly worsened in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) where Georgia is now ranked at 55th place among 177 countries surveyed.
CPI ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be and it scores countries on a scale from 0 – perceived to be highly corrupt, to 100 – perceived to be very clean.
In recent CPI, released by the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog on December 3, Georgia’s score is 49, down from 52 in 2012, when Georgia was ranked 51st out of 176 countries surveyed.
In 2013 CPI ranking Georgia shares the 55th place with Lesotho, just behind Turkey and ahead of Bahrain, Croatia and the Czech Republic. EU-member countries, other than Croatia and the Czech Republic, which rank behind Georgia in terms of perceived level of corruption, are Slovakia, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece.
“Since coming to power in October 2012, the Georgian Dream-led government has advanced anti-corruption reforms in some areas,” Transparency International Georgia said.
These areas, according to Tbilisi-based member of Transparency International’s network, include expanding the scope of public officials’ asset declarations and publishing directly awarded government contracts, including all small purchases, on the e-procurement portal.
“Both are practices where Georgia serves as a best-practice case worldwide,” TI Georgia said. “The government has also, although carefully, pursued reforms to pro-actively release more public data online and has improved the responsiveness to Freedom of Information requests.”
“At the same time, several high-level representatives of the government have made ambiguous statements about nepotistic hiring practices in the public sector; in the past year, the State Audit Office has done little to scrutinize ongoing government spending. So far, little progress has been made in drafting a new Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan for the coming years,” it said.
TI Georgia has called on the authorities to further strengthen the capacity of the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Audit Office, the competition agency, and independent regulatory bodies, and to refrain from any undue political interference in these entities. It has also called on the authorities to provide “appropriate democratic oversight” over the Interior Ministry’s activities; to set up an independent anti-corruption agency; to strengthen anti-corruption mechanisms and policies of local government bodies; to eliminate gaps both in law and in practice that result in government or government-controlled entities to bypass the existing transparent electronic procurement system; to address the corruption risks arising from the movement of officials between the public and the private sectors and the abuse of public office for the benefit of specific private companies; to ensure transparent management of Georgia’s defense budget; to safeguard the independence of the judiciary; to improve the administrative capabilities and oversight capacity of Parliament, especially over the law enforcement and investigative agencies.