Learner’s Submission: Anti-Corruption Reform: the Case of Georgia

“Georgia’s war against corruption is without a doubt one of the most successful fights against corruption in the world. It exhibited good example to many developing countries where corruption has developed such strong roots that it now appears as though it is part of the people’s tradition. It brought to view the fact that corruption as a virus to any society can be paralysed if appropriate measures are taken at the right time.

It must be pointed out that the successful eradication of corruption in Georgia could not have been effective without active participation of the country’s citizens. It is therefore imperative to state that any government willing to embark on a fight against corruption must engage its citizens from the very first step of the campaign for success to be attained. Doing this ensures trust between the government and its citizens. This also brings about transparency, accountability and justice.

Not engaging the citizens can have an adverse effect. Here is an example: In 2003 the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria introduced the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to checkmate the financial crimes in the country, a decision that came to life after immense pressure from Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), when it named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries not co-operating to international community’s effort to wage the war against money laundering. The aim of the agency failed woefully and financial crimes in the country rose to an astonishing level. Even though the EFCC still exists to this day, it merely serves as a government outfit set to reduce unemployment in the country and not to kill off financial crimes as was the objective from inception. Curiously, the same corruption that led to the establishment of the agency also strangled the agency to permanent silence.

The reason for this failure is not far-fetched: the Nigerian government did not involve its citizens at any stage of the initiative, and so corruption freely infiltrated into the agency, unchecked.

The Georgian approach was both reactive and preventive in nature. It was reactive in the sense that the government of Georgia put a fight by taking necessary steps to end corruption in the country through the zero tolerance policy, and preventive measures were put in place after their war against corruption became a success.

The Georgian anti-corruption battle provided Legal Regulation for the citizens to access public documents such as the online assets declaration which came to life in 2010 as part of the anti-corruption campaign.” – Elias Ozikpu – Lagos, Nigeria

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