Empowered Civil Society and Enhanced Beneficial Ownership Transparency Standards for Good Governance

Projects | Current Projects 1 October 2020

 

 

 

Project Title: Empowered Civil Society and Enhanced Beneficial Ownership Transparency Standards for Good Governance
Supported by: International Visegrad Fund 
Grant Number: 220203362
Budget: EUR 34,902
Duration: October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021
Partner Organizations: KohoVolit.eu (Czech Republic and Slovakia), K-Monitor Public Benefit Association (Hungary), ePaństwo Foundation (Poland)

 

Background

 

Despite Georgia’s success in fighting against petty corruption, it still has shortcomings in fighting against elite corruption. As it is acknowledged globally, beneficial ownership transparency is a crucial component for combating high and international corruption. While the registry of the beneficial ownership of the companies registered abroad does not exist in Georgia, foreign and offshore companies often hold significant assets in Georgia (real estate, capital, etc.) and participate in public procurement. With regard to Visegrad countries, Slovakia was one of the first countries of the European Union, which implemented a public register of beneficial ownership. While other countries also adopted respective laws/regulations in order to implement the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Directive 2015/849/EU). Studying and comparing legislation and practices of these countries in this regard will be a useful experience-sharing for Georgia. Apart from existing transparency standards, civil society and media can play a critical role in enhancing government accountability. However, there is a lack of systemic public scrutiny over government activities in Georgia, as only a handful of media or civil society organizations have relevant skills to perform effective watchdog functions. Activists as well as the broader society do not have enough skills for obtaining and processing public data, as well as using online and offline (international) tools for holding the government accountable.

 

Project Objectives

 

IDFI, together with its partners from V4 countries, aims to support Georgian public to effectively monitor the government as well as enhance availability of public data on offshore companies.

 

To this end, the project plans to:

 

1) Study and advocate beneficial ownership transparency standards in Georgia and V4 countries;

 

2) Increase capacity of journalists, CSOs and activists through enhancing their oversight skills and promote monitoring government spending.

 

Such holistic approach will significantly improve the environment for watchdog community through advocating publication of more public data, including data about beneficial owners, enriching their professional skills and fostering cooperation between CSOs, journalists and activists.

 

Project Activities

 

1. Workshop on beneficial ownership transparency standards

2. Preparing toolkit on international investigative platforms, including on beneficial owners

3. Practical training/Workshop

4. Preparing joint regional study on beneficial ownership transparency legislation and practice in Georgia and V4 countries

5. Mentorship/Consultation for journalists/activists/CSOs/watchdogs

6. Contest of analytical reports/articles

7. Preparing Datasets and Update of DataLab.ge

8. Preparing visualizations / informative videos

9. Preparing analytical/investigative articles

10. Final Presentation

 

Project timeline and Budget

Activities Carried Out Withing the Project