Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) welcomes the initiation of drafting the new Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan for 2019-2020 by the Secretariat of Anti-Corruption Interagency Council and hopes that the document will cover all the important objectives for corruption prevention.
Analysis of the practice of combating corruption in Georgia shows that the independence of the agencies fighting corruption is the most challenging. IDFI has been highlighting the deficiencies in the existing anticorruption system for a long time in various formats.
The lack of investigation of the cases of "elite corruption" by the present as well as previous government indicates that it is necessary to reform the system because it cannot effectively respond to cases of high-level corruption. This poses questions in the society and negatively affects the trust towards public institutions. Furthermore, alleged offenses of public officials encourage this type of crimes and harms the country's democratic development.
Therefore, IDFI believes that the new Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan must include a commitment to create an Independent Anticorruption Agency equipped with high degree of independence, relevant authority and public trust to investigate high-profile corruption cases and answer all of the lingering questions.
The evaluation report of the previous Anti-Corruption Action Plan lacks the evaluation component as it simply provides the monitoring results of the implementation of measures/actions, thus it prevents us establish the level of achievement of the goals and objectives envisaged by the Action Plan. The vagueness of the previous action plan’s implementation rate / outcomes makes it difficult to define the goals and objectives for the new action plan. IDFI also notes with regret that at the end of the first quarter of the year the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council has not yet presented the draft of the new Action Plan and the objectives and measures it plans to introduce in it. Accordingly, IDFI bases its position on the information available for the organization and international organizations’ opinions on various areas covered by the Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
As a general comment, IDFI underlines that the previous Action Plan provided for only some important measures and was overloaded with many technical and minor commitments and activities. Measures in the Action Plan were mainly copied from the previous one with very few new ones added to it. In addition, the objectives of the previous Action Plan were often too general or too specific; indicators did not meet the "SMART" criteria, which made it difficult to measure the implementation of the Action Plan.
Moreover, despite the recommendation of the OECD-ACN, the previous Action Plan did not include impact assessment indicators. Accordingly, to eliminate the existing deficiencies in the previous Action Plan, the general recommendations of IDFI on the new Action Plan are as follows:
- Situation analysis must be prepared for each chapter of the Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan, based on which problems/challenges and respective objectives will be determined;
- In determining the objectives of the Action Plan, the secretariat and the responsible agencies must pay special attention to criteria such as importance, measurability, sufficiency, specificity and relevance;
- The Action Plan must include impact and outcome indicators that will meet "SMART" criteria.
Apart from these general recommendations, IDFI proposes specific objectives and measures to the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council to take into account when drafting the new Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan 2019-2020.
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