13 April 2024,   15:54
The Legal Issues Committee discussed the Draft Anti-Corruption Law

The Committee discussed for the I reading the Draft Anti-Corruption Law and the accompanying Bills.

The amendments determine the inviolability of the Head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the criminal liability, his/her detention or arrest, the search of his/her residence, working area, vehicle or a personal search may be admitted with the preliminary consent of the Parliament solely. Exception from this shall be catching the Chief in flagrante delicto (catching in the act of committing an offense), which shall be without delay reported to the Parliament. In the event that the Parliament, within the term of 48 hours, fails to give its consent, the detained or arrested person shall be immediately released.

The Draft specifies one of the grounds for the termination of the authority of the Chief ahead of time, which is related to the occupation of a position thereby or the conduct of the activity incompatible with his/her position. At that, the Draft annuls the ground of the termination of his/her authority ahead of time, which is related to drug addiction or the refusal to pass the mandatory narcological test.

The Draft establishes the term of 1 month for the Chief of Bureau to eliminate the gaps in his/her property declaration; the declaration, within the hereof term, or information therein shall not be disclosed or issued as information. The hereof procedure shall not exempt an official from liability for the detected gaps. At that, as stipulated, the failure to eliminate the gaps shall be subject to the penalty and the monitoring of the declaration.

The Draft imposes the authority on the Bureau to grant the status of a whistle-blower (including anonymous), provide legal and/or mental aid and submit the information, document or evidence concerning the whistle-blowing to the respective body/agency.

The Bureau shall as well be entitled to address the LEPL Legal Aid Service with the appeal for free legal advice for the whistle-blower. The rule of the hereof authority shall be established under the Decree of the Chief of the Bureau. The amendments specify that the Bureau shall realize its authority in adherence to the requirements established under the Law on Personal Data Protection and the Child Code. The Draft annuls the obligation envisaged under the Anti-Corruption Law related to the narcological inspection of the President of Georgia, Members of Parliament, members of Abkhazia AR and Ajara AR Representative Bodies, Heads of the Abkhazia AR and Ajara AR Governments, Members of Government, Deputy Ministers, and the Heads of the Abkhazia AR and Ajara AR Executive Units and their Deputies.

Pursuant to the legal package, the Bureau, in view of the monitoring of the fiscal activity of a political party or a person with electoral goals, shall undertake the special administrative measures under the Administrative Procedure Code: questioning of a natural person, questioning of natural persons in the presence of a magistrate judge, and inquiry about the information (including the personal data and personal data of particular category) from the public institutions, natural persons and legal entities (including the tax service providers) and other subjects.

The Draft also determines that if a political party fails to submit the financial declaration to the Bureau for 2 calendar years in a row, the National Agency of Public Registry shall be entitled to, on the basis of the address of the Chief of the Bureau, annul the registration of the party.

As the reporter, the Chair of the Committee, Anri Okhanashvili elucidated, the legal package aims to further improve the activity of the Bureau and the fulfillment of one of the recommendations of the 9-point plan.