Corruption Risk Assessment
For better identification of the corruption risk factors, Georgia is willing to implement corruption risk assessments and carry out comprehensive analyses of the possible corruption risks, especially in corruption prone sectors.
This commitment is specific because it targets a concrete anti-corruption mechanism, which is corruption risk assessments.
The commitment identifies action that can be construed as measurable, but which requires some interpretation. The commitment was included in the 2018-2019 National OGP Action Plan under Challenge II Commitment 6 “Strengthening the existing major anti-corruption institutions”, in which the government committed to developing a corruption risk assessment methodology and piloting it in the chief prosecutor’s office and in the state security service, both considered to be key structures responsible for the fight against corruption. According to the aforementioned OGP Action Plan, key steps in measuring progress in the implementation of this commitment are:
2.1 a) “elaboration by the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council (ACC) in cooperation with the Anti-Corruption Council and OGP Forum members of a corruption risk assessment methodology;
2.1 b) according to the corruption risk assessment methodology, assessment of corruption risks in anticorruption divisions (informing the corruption risk assessment progress to the forum and consideration at the forum);
2.1 c) according to the corruption risk assessment results and needs, strengthening of the anti-corruption agency under the state security service of Georgia the division of the criminal prosecution of corruption crimes of the chief prosecutor’s office;
2.1 d) periodical trainings of persons engaged in the investigation of corruption crimes and criminal prosecution in the direction of specialization, including the matters of corruption crimes committed by legal persons and international corruption crimes investigation and criminal prosecution.”
The action plan also includes Commitment 1 “Strengthening transparency and good governance in municipalities” to develop integrity strategies and action plans in Akhaltsikhe, Khoni, Ozurgeti and Dedoplistskaro municipalities.
2.2 a) the development and approval of a three-year (2019–2022) transparency and integrity strategy;
2.2 b) and a biennial action plan by eight municipalities as envisaged by the 2018–2019 OGP Action Plan.
 Georgia’s National OGP Action Plan of 2018-2019, pp.14-16, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Georgia_Action-Plan_2018-2019_ENG.doc
 Georgia’s National OGP Action Plan of 2018-2019, 26-27 https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Georgia_Action-Plan_2018-2019_ENG.doc
This is a new commitment, the implementation of which started after the 18th IACC in 2018. Specifically, in the 2018-2019 National OGP Action Plan,1 the government committed to the following:
2.1 a) “elaboration by the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council (ACC) in cooperation with the Anti-Corruption Council and OGP Forum members of a corruption risk assessment methodology”
In December 2019, the Anti-Corruption Council at the Ministry of Justice developed the national corruption risk assessment methodology2 based on the methodology used by the OECD, Transparency International and other international organisations.34 5 6 7
This methodology provides an overview of how to plan the process for corruption risk assessments and how to identify, analyse, manage and monitor the corruption risks by providing specific examples and survey form templates.8
It should be noted that to provide a higher-level and closer supervision of anti-corruption reform implementation in Georgia, in March 2021, the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Institutions was amended to grant the function of organisation and administration of the work of National Anti-Corruption Council to the AoG,9 which should also include the function of coordinating the process of implementing the corruption risk assessment methodology. However, as of November 2021, the AoG has not convened the council meetings and has not yet recruited relevant staff for the operation of the secretariat of the council. With delays in the convening of the National Anti-Corruption Council and in the development of the new anti-corruption strategy, there has been slow progress in the implementation of the corruption risk assessment methodology in government agencies at the national level.
2.1 b) “according to the corruption risk assessment methodology, assessment of corruption risks in anticorruption divisions (informing the corruption risk assessment progress to the forum and consideration at the forum); + c) according to the corruption risk assessment results and needs, strengthening of the Anti-Corruption Agency under the State Security Service of Georgia the Division of the Criminal Prosecution of Corruption Crimes of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office; + d) and periodical trainings of persons engaged in the investigation of corruption crimes and criminal prosecution in the direction of specialization, including the matters of corruption crimes committed by legal persons and international corruption crimes investigation and criminal prosecution.”
Specifically, the commitment included in the 2018–2019 National OGP Action Plan envisaged conducting corruption risk assessments in the chief prosecutor’s office and in the state security service considered to be the key institutions for fighting corruption in the country.10 Yet, even though experts hired by international donor organisations trained the staff of those agencies on the new methodology, they had low interest in drafting their corruption risk assessments and integrity strategies/action plans based on that methodology.11 Therefore, the OGP commitment was not fulfilled.
Consequently, a separate process started to pilot the corruption risk assessment methodology in other national agencies.12 As of November 2021, the EU project Support to the Public Administration Reform in Georgia is assisting three national agencies, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, and the Technical and Construction Supervision Agency under the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development to develop their corruption risk assessments based on the aforementioned methodology. The latter two have already completed this assessment.13
However, the assessment results are not publicly available. According to an independent consultant involved in this process, it is up to the relevant agencies to publish these results. Given that the assessments might reveal sensitive issues, the agencies might be reluctant to disclose these to the public. However, in the spirit of open governance and the fight against corruption, citizens have the right to know the assessment results. By publishing these results, public agencies would raise the standard of their transparency and accountability, which is the rationale behind this commitment. Based on the comprehensive analysis of possible corruption risks, the pilot agencies are later expected to draft integrity strategies and action plans to address the risks identified.12
According to the representative of the Technical and Construction Supervision Agency, the conducted assessment revealed the development of an up and running electronic platform for issuing permits for the construction of objects of special importance (for example, gas pipelines, water and electricity systems, roads, bridges, railways, airports, sea ports and hydropower plants) as a priority area for them in terms of corruption prevention. The agency representative also noted that the agency plans to publish these permits and other related documents on the platform to increase access to public information and to make its administrative proceedings more transparent. However, they do not have enough funds or resources to launch the electronic platform on their own and need external donor assistance.14
Other priority areas include the reduction of the number of simplified procurement tenders and tenders with only one bidder that bypass competitive procurement procedures as well as ensuring equal competition in the recruitment of new staff by refining the staff qualification criteria.14 Reducing the number of simplified public agency procurement tenders is a high priority CSOs identified too.15
2.2 a) “the development and approval of a three-year (2019-2022) transparency and integrity strategy; +b) and a biennial action plan by eight municipalities as envisaged by the 2018-2019 OGP Action Plan.”
It should be noted that, compared with national level agencies, local governments have shown better progress in the process of developing their corruption risk assessments and analysis as well as integrity strategies and action plans with support from the USAID’s Good Governance Initiative, the United Nations Development Programme and local CSOs.16 Specifically, eight municipalities (Tbilisi, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Ozurgeti, Senaki, Telavi, Lagodekhi and Zugdidi) are in the process of developing their corruption risk assessment methodologies17 while five (Akhaltsikhe, Bolnisi, Dedoplistskaro, Khoni and Ozurgeti municipalities) have already developed integrity strategies and action plans in accordance with the OGP Action Plan commitment.16 Yet, this is still little progress given there are 64 municipalities in Georgia.
Overall conclusion: given that the national corruption risk assessment methodology has not been implemented in the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and in the state security service as 2018-2019 OGP Action Plan commitment states and that only three other national level agencies and eight municipalities are in the process of piloting this methodology, the commitment can be considered to be only partially fulfilled.
|Challenges to effective commitment implementation|
|According to the AoG representative, the transfer of relevant competences from the MoJ to the AoG was the main reason for the delay in implementing the corruption risk assessment methodology at the national level. While this may have hindered some processes, the transfer took place in March 2021, while the risk assessment methodology was developed in 2019. The more realistic reason for delay to fully implement this commitment was the inability of the MoJ to convince public institutions to use its methodology and undertake the commitment to conduct risk assessments. The ministries and other public agencies had a lot of questions about how to implement the methodology in practice and needed thorough guidance from external experts on this process since they thought the methodology was general and therefore not very practical for them.18
That being said, all the work is basically done by international donor organisations since public agencies report that they lack resources, knowledge and understanding of how to develop a corruption risk assessment, an integrity strategy and an action plan with sound indicators to measure progress. For instance, the corruption risk assessments in the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture and in the Technical and Construction Supervision Agency as well as in selected municipalities, some of which have also developed integrity strategies and action plans, were drafted with external support, which creates the lack of ownership in the responsible agencies over those documents.19
|Opportunities to accelerate commitment implementation|
|The adoption of the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy/Action Plan and the new OGP Action Plan for 2022–2023 would help move the implementation of the corruption risk assessment methodology forward. These documents should provide an update on the progress made so far and allow the government and other stakeholders to determine which national level public agencies should implement this methodology in the first place, when and how.
However, as of November 2021, it was still not known when the aforementioned documents are to be adopted. The OGP Local Program is a good opportunity for municipalities to implement anti-corruption commitments at the local level. Examples include Akhaltsikhe, Khoni and Ozurgeti municipalities, which were admitted to the OGP Local Program in 2020 and are now busy implementing specific commitments, including carrying out comprehensive corruption risk assessments and developing integrity and open data strategies and action plans.20 21 22 23
- Georgia’s National OGP Action Plan of 2018-2019, pp.14-16 and 26-27 https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Georgia_Action-Plan_2018-2019_ENG.doc30 Dec 2021
- This methodology was shared by Nino Tsukhishvili, an independent consultant involved in its drafting process. The document is not publicly available for unknown reasons.30 Dec 2021
- OECD, Public Sector Integrity: A Framework for Assessment, 2005, https://www.serviciocivil.cl/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Public-Sector-Integrity-a-framework-for-Assessment.pdf30 Dec 2021
- OECD, Analytics for Integrity: Data-Driven Approaches for Enhancing Corruption and Fraud Risk Assessments, 2019, https://www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/analytics-for-integrity.pdf30 Dec 2021
- TI, Corruption Risk Assessment and Management Approaches in the Public Sector, October 5, 2015, https://knowledgehub.transparency.org/assets/uploads/helpdesk/Corruption_risk_assessment_and_management_approaches_in_the_public_sector_2015.pdf30 Dec 2021
- Council of Europe, Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology Guide, December 2010, https://rm.coe.int/16806ec89030 Dec 2021
- USAID, Anticorruption Assessment Handbook, February 28, 2009, https://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pa00jp37.pdf30 Dec 2021
- Secretariat of National Anti-Corruption Council/Analytical Department of Ministry of Justice, Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology, December 201930 Dec 2021
- Law of Georgia on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Institutions, Article 12(1), https://matsne.gov.ge/ka/document/view/33550?publication=7730 Dec 2021
- Georgia’s National OGP Action Plan of 2018-2019, pp.14-16, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Georgia_Action-Plan_2018-2019_ENG.doc30 Dec 2021
- Interview with Nino Tsukhishvili, an independent consultant involved in the drafting of the National Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology and in the trainings of relevant staff from the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Service, October 20, 202130 Dec 2021
- Tsukhishvili, op cit.30 Dec 2021
- The EU project plan is not a publicly available document. It was shared with TI Georgia by Nino Tsukhishvili working on the project. Under the plan, the EU is assisting relevant public agencies in strengthening their accountability in policy development and in implementing the risk assessment methodology30 Dec 2021
- Interview with the representative of the Technical and Construction Supervision Agency, 12 November 202130 Dec 2021
- TI Georgia, Simplified Procurement Remains Primary Challenge for Georgia’s Public Procurement System, 10 July 2015, https://transparency.ge/en/post/report/simplified-procurement-remains-primary-challenge-georgia-s-public-procurement-system30 Dec 2021
- OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Georgia Transitional Results Report 2018–2019, 3 August 2021, pp.6-7, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Georgia_Transitional-Results_Report_2018-2019_EN.pdf30 Dec 2021
- USAID Good Governance Initiative in Georgia, Facebook post on the project that is implemented in partnership with TI Georgia, 14 April 2021, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2746800852297177&id=1512130755764199. As indicated in the post, Batumi municipality was also part of this project, however it later dropped the commitment based on the information provided by TI Georgia30 Dec 2021
- Interview with Project Coordinator of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, 27 October 202130 Dec 2021
- Interview with an independent consultant assisting national level public agencies in implementing the Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology, 20 October 202130 Dec 2021
- OGP Georgia, Akhaltsikhe, Ozurgeti and Khoni Joined Global Partnership on Open Government, 20 October 2020, https://ogpgeorgia.gov.ge/en/news/ogp-local-is-growing/30 Dec 2021
- Ozurgeti OGP Action Plan of 2021, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/action-plan-ozurgeti-georgia-2021-2021/30 Dec 2021
- Akhaltsikhe OGP Action Plan of 2021, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/action-plan-akhaltsikhe-georgia-2021-2021/30 Dec 2021
- Khoni OGP Action Plan of 2021, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/action-plan-khoni-georgia-2021-2021/30 Dec 2021
- IDFI, NGO Statement: Suspended Process of Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Georgia, 7 December 2021, https://idfi.ge/en/ngos_joint_statement_93735230 Dec 2021
(logged in as editor)