Georgia dropped from the Grand Corruption Watch List
Thursday, February 25Although influence of partisan politics continues, regulatory agencies are becoming more responsive to citizen concerns
(Washington D.C.) – Georgia has been officially dropped from Global Integrity’s Grand Corruption Watch List, due in part to improvements in the responsiveness of Government regulatory bodies to citizen concerns and new whistle-blower protections, according to the results of a study of Government accountability in countries around the world.
The Grand Corruption Watch List identifies countries where the lack of effective conflicts of interest regulations, unregulated flows of money into the political process and poor oversight over large state-owned enterprises combine to pose a systemic risk of large-scale theft of public resources.
Although Government oversight bodies such as the Georgian Public Defender, the Chamber of Control of Georgia and the Central Election Commission all publish on-time citizen-accessible reports, their effectiveness is limited by partisan politics as the Government rarely acts on these agencies’ findings. With the help of new whistle-blower protections, however, the Public Defender’s office is improving its reputation with the public for its responsiveness, although the Government is often reluctant to respond to the Ombudsman’s recommendations for policy reforms.
The report, a major investigative study of 35 countries, was released today by Global Integrity, an award-winning international nonprofit organisation that tracks governance and corruption trends globally. “While Georgia’s removal from the Watch List does not preclude large-scale corruption from occurring, it does signal that important (though incomplete) progress has been made in establishing a minimum of key anti-corruption safeguards,” said Global Integrity’s Managing Director, Nathaniel Heller.
Despite the progress noted in Georgia, the report also found that power remains tightly consolidated in the executive branch, where levels of accountability are low and the functions of the ruling party are fused with those of the state.
The Global Integrity Report: 2009 covers developed countries such as the United States and South Korea as well as dozens of the world’s emerging markets and developing nations, from Azerbaijan and China to Lebanon and Vietnam. The report assesses the accountability mechanisms and transparency measures in place (or not) to determine where corruption is more likely to occur. Rather than measure perceptions of corruption, the report assesses more than 300 “Integrity Indicators” and includes journalistic pieces covering corruption cases.