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Georgia

9. Corruption

Georgia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption.  Georgia criminalizes bribery under the Criminal Code of Georgia. Chapter XXXIX of the Criminal Code, titled as Official Misconduct, among other crime, covers many corruption-related offenses committed by public servants including bribery, abuse of official powers, accepting a prohibited gift, forgery of official documentation, etc.  Senior public officials must file financial disclosure forms, which are publicly available online, and Georgian legislation provides for the civil forfeiture of undocumented assets of public officials who are charged with corruption-related offenses.  Penalties for accepting a bribe start at six years in prison and can extend to 15 years, depending on the circumstances.   Penalties for giving a bribe can include a fine, correctional labor, house arrest, or prison sentence up to three years.  In aggravated circumstances, when a bribe is given to commit an illegal act, the penalty is from four to seven years.  When bribe-giving is committed by the organized group, the sentence is imprisonment from 5 to 8 years. Abuse of authority by public servants are criminal acts under Articles 332 of the criminal code and carry a maximum penalty of eight years imprisonment.  The definition of a public official includes foreign public officials and employees of international organizations and courts.  White collar crimes, such as bribery, fall under the investigative jurisdiction of the Prosecutor’s Office. The laws extend to family members of officials.

Georgia is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Georgia has, however, ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Georgia cooperates with the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies (ACN).

Following its assessment of Georgia in June 2016, the OECD released a report concluding that Georgia had achieved remarkable progress in eliminating petty corruption in public administration and should now focus on combating high-level and complex corruption. The report commends Georgia’s mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of its Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan, as well as the role given to civil society in this process. It also welcomes the adoption of a new Law on Civil Service and recommends that the remaining legislation to implement civil service reforms is adopted without delay. The report notes that the Civil Service Bureau and Human Resources units in state entities should be strengthened to ensure the implementation of the required reforms. The report highlights Georgia’s good track record in prosecuting corruption crimes and in using modern methods to confiscate criminal proceeds. It recommends that Georgia increase enforcement of corporate liability and the prosecution of foreign bribery to address the perception of corruption among local government officials. The full report is available at: http://www.oecd.org/corruption/anti-bribery/Georgia-Round-4-Monitoring-Report-ENG.pdf .

In April 2021, the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) released its Second Compliance Report of Fourth Evaluation Round on Georgia (dealing with Corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors). The report says that since  2019  Georgia implemented two more, overall, seven, of 16 recommendations for preventing corruption among MPs, judges, and prosecutors. The Compliance Report said Georgia satisfactorily implemented measures to enforce objective criteria for the recruitment and promotion of prosecutors, also ensured further updates of the “Code of Ethics for Employees of the Prosecution Service of Georgia,” and introduced measures for enforcing the rules. Out of the nine outstanding recommendations, two remain unaddressed while seven have been partly implemented. The sixteen recommendations were adopted in 2016, in the Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Georgia by the CoE’s anti-corruption monitoring body.

Since 2003, Georgia has significantly improved its ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report.

Transparency International (TI) ranked Georgia 45th out of 180 countries in the 2020 edition  of its Corruption Perceptions Index (the same rank as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Latvia). While Georgia has been successful in fighting visible, low-level corruption, Georgia remains vulnerable to what Transparency International calls “elite” corruption: high-level officials exploiting legal loopholes for personal enrichment, status, or retribution. Although the evidence is mostly anecdotal, this form of corruption, or the perception of its existence, has the potential to erode public and investor confidence in Georgia’s institutions and the investment environment. Corruption remains a potential problem in public procurement processes, public administration practices, and the judicial system due to unclear laws and ethical standards.

Resources to Report Corruption

Government agencies responsible for combating corruption:

Anti-Corruption Agency at the State Security Service of Georgia
Address: 72, Vazha Pshavela Ave.
Tel: +995-32-241-20-28

Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia
Mr. Giorgi Gochashvili, Head of Division of Criminal Prosecution of Corruption Crimes
Address: 24, Gorgasali Street, Tbilisi
Tel: +995-32-240-52-52
Email: ggochashvili@pog.gov.ge

Ministry of Justice of Georgia
Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council
Address: 24, Gorgasali Street, Tbilisi
Tel: +995-32-240-58-04
Email: ACCouncil@justice.gov.ge

Business Ombudsman’s Office
Mrs. Nino Kvetenadze Ombudsman
Address: 7, Ingorokva street
Hotline: +995 32 2 282828
Email: ask@businessombudsman.ge

Non-governmental organization:

Ms. Eka Gigauri
Director
Transparency International
26, Rustaveli Ave, 0108, Tbilisi, Georgia
Telephone: +995-32-292-14-03
ekag@transparency.ge 

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