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Georgia must act quickly to curb corruption to fulfil hopes of ‘rose’ revolution, says Transparency International

TI outlines anti-corruption priorities for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili

"Georgia must follow up the 'rose' revolution against a corrupt regime with swift action against corruption and lasting reforms to prevent bribery and conflicts of interest," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International, introducing a Transparency International lecture delivered by President Mikhail Saakashvili in Berlin today.

"Together with TI's national chapter in Georgia, TI is ready and willing to work together with President Saakashvili to fight corruption," said Eigen. "TI welcomes the election of a politician who led the 'rose revolution', a peaceful democratic revolution against widespread, high-level corruption in Georgia," he continued. TI is the leading international non-governmental organisation devoted exclusively to combating corruption.

"The future stability of Georgia is dependent on making the fight against corruption priority number one," said Eigen, "because corruption is the enemy of sustainable economic development and undermines democracy. TI welcomes the central place given to tackling corruption by President Mikhail Saakashvili during his election campaign, and calls on the international community to provide support to his anti-corruption efforts."

In a letter of congratulations to President Saakashvili, Peter Eigen outlines the priorities for the first 200 days of the new presidency. TI looks forward to a restructured anti-corruption commission, with powers of investigation, that reports to parliament. TI urges the new administration to implement the National Anti-Corruption Programme, introduce strict conflict-of-interest legislation for all public officials, and clarify staffing policies and increase salaries in the civil service. TI also calls for the introduction of open public tenders with a no-bribes agreement signed by all parties, including sub-contractors (the TI Integrity Pact in public contracting).

Transparency International urges Mikhail Saakashvili, the President-elect of Georgia, to take urgent steps, including the following, to address the problem of corruption in Georgia:

Within the first 100 days

  • Restructure the anti-corruption commission with wide powers of investigation and with a board accountable to parliament.
  • Assure the prompt and full implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Programme.
  • Establish an office of Auditor-General.
  • Clarify staffing policies and increase salaries in the civil service.

Within the first 200 days

  • Seek solution to the issue of abuse of parliamentary immunity, removing the scope for politicians to place themselves above the law.
  • Enforce strict conflict-of-interest legislation for all public officials.
  • Put before Parliament stricter laws and regulations to prevent law-enforcement officials placing themselves above the law.
  • Work towards a decentralised political structure, with increased degree of local self-governance.
  • Strengthen local oversight of the police and raise public involvement in the legislative process.
  • Make all public tenders open, with no-bribes agreement signed by all parties, including sub-contractors.

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