Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), the local chapter of the global movement against corruption, salutes the proactive nature in which the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) is currently operating, after years of suppression and political interference. Based on an increasing number of complaints, the CIABOC has initiated several investigations and probes against allegations of large scale corruption running into billions of rupees by high ranking officials and politicians, some of whom have already been summoned for further inquiry and questioning.
The Bribery or Corruption Commission is a fundamental tool required in an active democracy to ensure transparency in transactions, accountability of those who are in positions of authority and the good governance of a country.
In the past decade TISL have expressed their concerns regarding the politicization of commissions such as the CIABOC, which were at one point made redundant by legislature such as the 18th Amendment, leading to a culture of impunity for corrupt perpetrators and apathy and mistrust among the general public about complaints made. Therefore it is most refreshing and timely to witness the CIABOC taking a strong stand against corruption and complaints made against leading politicians, their close associates and high ranking government officials. We are also happy to note that the police also have taken very strong stand against corruption and in fact investigating in to series of financial scandals.
In this context it is particularly distressing to note the irresponsible stance and noncooperation of certain parties, including Parliamentarians, against the actions of the CIABOC undermining not only their authority but also the rule of law. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), Sri Lanka and its elected representatives are duty bound to uphold the standards and provisions outlined in the Convention and at a minimum allow for the impartial investigations of allegations and complaints without disruption or undue influence.
TISL urges all parties to create a conducive environment in which facts can be investigated and truth can be revealed so that corruption can be reduced and ultimately eradicated by respecting the authority of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.
Currently CIABOC is running full stream and staff is working restlessly to investigate large number of complaints running in to more than 1500. It was no secret this was due to timely action taken by hard working Director General of the CIABOC. While appreciating her work, TISL earnestly appeal to the government and opposition politicians to allow Director General and the CIABOC to work independently to see smooth running of the country’s highest anti corruption institution. We further urge all parties concern to assist CIABOC and Police in respect of investigations.