Author Archives: srilankatwo
During a recent ‘sathyagrahaya’ titled ‘Heta Delakshaya Seeruwen’ staged in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, several Political leaders from the ‘Yahapalana Government’, activists and civil society organizations voiced their views influencing the authorities to fulfill the election manifesto which they had provided during the last presidential election. The ‘sathyagrahaya’ was organized by the “Movement for the Protection of Convention among 6.2 million people” in collaboration with many civil society organizations who had assisted the’ Yahapalana concept’ to form a Government.
Here are some important statements made during the event.
“Transparency of a Govt. can be measured by actions taken by the present political leaders”
– Ven. Dr. Dambara Amila Thera , Prof. of Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
“The transparency of a Government can be measured by the action taken by the political leaders in the present government,” Ven. Dr. Dambara Amila Thera said.
Ven. Amila Thera said that after the formation of the coalition Government, commissions such as the FCID and PRECIFAC have been established to probe into the corruption by politicians which occurred during the former Government. Everyday it’s reported that the politicians from the former regime had appeared at theses commissions where statements were recorded. However, the Government had failed to bring corrupt politicians to book and that investigations hadn’t produced any results up to now. “The Government isn’t moving on the correct track right now. The Government came into power to have good governance in the country and to avoid undemocratic practices like abusing the powers of the Executive Presidency,” the Thera said.
The Government has the power to appoint commissions to carry out investigations. There is an independent Judicial System in the country. Despite possessing all these powers the Government has disappointed the public because it has failed to take stern decisions and bring politicians who have corruption charges to face the law, the Thera said.
The Thera added that the transparency of the Government can be measured by actions taken by the present political leaders.”Therefore we would urge the Government to deliver on its promises according to the election manifesto,” the Thera said.
“Public wants AG’S Department to show same efficiency as in the past”
– Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne
“Government is considering setting up of a special Court in the High Court to hear higher corruption cases involving top politicians and officials of the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime,” Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said.
He said that the FCID had completed investigating as many as 43 files related to corruption cases. These corruptions had occurred during the previous regime and these files had been forwarded to the AG’s Department, two years ago. Senaratne expressed his disappointment and disapproval regarding the recent method adopted by the AG’s Department in connection with the cases against politicians and top officials of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.
Minister Senaratne said that the entire country and the Government expected the AG’S Department to show the same efficiency as in the past when filing charges against corrupt ministers and officials. He said that those accused had allegedly committed various crimes including murder and misappropriating public money amounting to billions of rupees.
“The Government is considering setting up of two Trials- at- Bar at the Special Court to hear cases of murder, embezzlement and other financial crimes- including fraud and corruptions- which allegedly had been committed during the previous regime,” he said.
In most countries, the opposition party provides a solid challenge to the party that forms the Government
We all know the Government has changed the country to some level
The Government isn’t travelling on the correct track right now
“Present Govt. has failed to complete at least one corruption investigation”
– J.C. Weliamuna, President’s Counsel
“The trade unions, professional and civil society groups and left organizations rallied around the Government to have a country with good governance and democracy, and make the authorities take punitive action against corrupt members of the Rajapaksa Government,” said J.C. Weliamuna. Weliamuna said that the present Government was formed by collaboration of two main political parties and the Government had made several changes in the country. Especially the Government had formed several commissions and the Police have taken measures to investigate critical corruption cases in the country.
“In most countries, the opposition party provides a solid challenge to the party that forms the Government. But in Sri Lanka, the former President’s joint opposition party is constantly trying to buckle the plans of the present Government,” he said.
Weliamuna said that the Government should immediately complete the investigations against officials of the previous regime who have corruption charges. “The present Government has been in power for two and a half years, but has still failed to complete at least one corruption investigation related to the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime,” he said.
He said that the people voted for the ‘Yahapalana Government’ to have a country with good governance and democracy. The trade unions, professionals, civil society groups and left organizations rallied around the Government to have a country with good governance, democracy, and one that promises to take punitive action against corrupt members of the Rajapaksa Government. “Therefore the Government should appoint a separate Court to immediately carry out investigations against those who have corruption charges,” he said.
“Continuous criticism can distance citizens
– Saman Rathanapriya, Chairman of Government Nursing Officers Association
“This isn’t the democracy or the ‘Yahapalanaya’ which we had asked for,” Chairman of Government Nursing Officers Association Saman Rathanapriya said.
Rathanapriya said that the civil society organizations, gathered for the ‘Sathyagrahaya’, represented the 6.2 million people who voted in favour of forming the ‘Yahapalana Government.’
“We will pressurize the Government and the Executive President to complete the plans keeping with the election manifesto. We had requested the Government to reform the constitution and make a platform for national reconciliation. The level of corruption which took place during the former regime was one of the main issues highlighted during the present Government’s election campaign. The trade unions and civil society organizations had rallied around the ‘Yahapalana Government’ because of these reasons,” he pointed out.
He expressed that the former Government had connections in most cases such as the murder of the national rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, the disappearence of journalists Prageeth Ekaneligoda and the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunga, the Welikada Prison massacre among other corruptions and fraud cases. He said that the country’s judicial system had failed to file charges against those higher persons of the former Government.
“Investigations have been completed in most cases, but the authorities still haven’t been able to go public with the reports. This isn’t democracy or ‘Yahapalnaya’ which we had asked for,” he affirmed.
The majority had decided to form the coalition Government, but now the regime is being criticized by many civil society organizations regarding broken promises. The Government should make more commitments to protect ‘Yahapalanaya’ in the country. Otherwise the citizens will distance themselves from the Government.
“We had formed this Government and we need to take it on to the right track”
-K.W. Janaranjana, Ravaya Editor –
Expressing his views on the matter, Ravaya Editor K.W. Janaranjana said that the Government had taken certain initiatives to get the country onto a proper democratic platform. He also added that citizens are happy moving ahead with the challenge taken in 2015 to change the country using good governance.
”We can appreciate what the ‘Yahapalana Government’ has done throughout these two and a half years, but we can’t accept it when Government leaders use political powers and privileges for their own satisfaction. We can see the Government has forgotten about their election manifesto and is trying to move in a different direction. We formed this Government and we need to take it on to the right track. As civil society organizations we will raise our voices constantly to take the Government on to the right track. We will urge leaders to deliver on their promises in keeping with their election manifesto,” Janaranjana said.
“We urge the Govt. to implement a separate Court to probe corruption during the previous regime”
-Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Human Rights Activist and Attorney-at-Law
“We would like to urge the government to implement a separate court to probe the corruption which had occurred during the previous regime,” Dr. Nimalka Fernando said.
Presenting a proclamation with the collection of ideas from several civil society organizations, Dr. Fernando pointed out that the present Government was formed in 2015 largely due to the fact that their manifesto mentioned as top priority, defeating the Rajapaksa Government over its uncontrolled corruption, strict policies and attacks on democratic rights. People had backed the government to establish a peaceful country sans extremist influences. “We all know the Government has changed the country to some level. Some important changes can be highlighted. Through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution we saw the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency. The Government had relocated some people again in North- East Provinces. The Government had introduced the Victims and Witnesses Protection Act. We also appreciate the step taken to reform the constitution and they are working on it by forming a Public Representation Committee. But with all these positive changes the Government is doing things to descend from a top pedestal like not dealing with politicians and officials of the previous regime who were involved in corruption,” she said.
Fernando pointed out that they had reported on how the Government was meddling with issues where the corrupt should be put before court. She also said that several key figures in the present Government were involved in corruption issues.
“By staging this ‘Sathyagrahaya’ we would like to urge the Government to implement a separate Court to probe corruption which had occurred during the previous regime and the corruption that has occurred in the present regime,” she said.
She said that some parties in the Government were also trying to halt constitutional reforms. “This Government was formed by uniting two major political parties in the country. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to abolish the Executive Presidency through a constitutional reform. We aren’t allowing the ‘Yahapalana Government’ to move out without abolishing the Executive Presidency,” she said.
“We have highly condemned the fact that the present Government lacks transparency in its dealings with the financial sector. The Government has still failed to establish the National Audit Act. Also the Government has failed to abolish the Prevention of Terrorism Act which is a harmful act in our country. The Government has also failed to hold the Provincial Council Elections and this isn’t good for the country’s democracy,” she said.
The ‘program’ he meant was the sly and slimy activities he had been engaging in all along to impede the progress and programs of the government .In fact even at his final meeting on the 16 th at the ministry of justice he criticized the government .He revealed the GSP concessions the government secured is not going to confer any benefits on the country.
by (2017-08-19 08:36:48)
Corruption was endemic in Sri Lanka for decades as a way of life? Corruption had affected both public and private sectors in Sri Lanka. The increasing participation and the relevance of Trade Unions in the vanguard for fighting corruption and nepotism, and recently civil society organisations, has been a noticeable feature. In the complex post conflict situation in Sri Lanka, fighting corruption was difficult, in fact dangerous.
- Dept. unable to carry out regular operations smoothly due to lack of legislations
- Short staffed, department unable to promote, hire or give salary increments
- AG says if the bill was passed in 2003 much of the corruption would have been prevented
- Draft already gone through 22 rounds of amendments but no sign of being finalised
- Former AG Mayadune appeals to MPs to bring it as a Private Bill
As the proposed Audit Bll continues to shuttle between offices for repeated amendments, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe yesterday complained his department is unable to function at full capacity without the legislation being passed by Parliament.
“We are here nor there. The 19th Amendment made the older legislations redundant. We cannot move forward as the new act has yet to be passed. We are in a very difficult situation now,” Wijesisghe told reporters at a press conference in Colombo yesterday.
Following to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which established the Audit Commission, the Audit Act was to be passed in Parliament to provide subsequent provisions for the Department to operate. However, as the proposed Bill has yet to be passed, the Auditor General Department is unable to carry out its functions effectively.
“We could have worked under the previous law, but the 19th Amendment has changed the law. This has left us immobile and we are unable to carry out our functions in the current state, as we have no legislation on the Audit department,” Wijesisghe said.
Although the Commission has been appointed, provisions to hold meetings and carry out its functions are to be outlined in the proposed Act, he said.
He added that his Department is unable to fill existing vacancies, give promotions or increments to existing staff without the legislation.
At present, only one Deputy Auditor General is working, where there should be a total of 15 officers.
“One officer has been forced to carry out the work of 14 more officers,” Wijesinghe said, giving examples of constraints the Department is faced with in the absence of the legislation.
Stressing on the need of a strong and independent audit arm for the state service, the Auditor General said that the establishment of the legislation is needed to reintroduce good governance practices to the state service.
“The new mechanism should be in place to bring back good governance practices to the state, and this is the way forward. If there is a doubt we can test the mechanism, and if it is not acceptable, we can remove problematic elements later,” he said, adding that provisions are available for amendment.
Wijesinghe also said that much of the corruption that took place during the recent past could have been avoided, had the bill which was first drafted in 2003, during UNP-led Government had been passed. According to former Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne, the main architect of the original draft in 2003, although cabinet agreed on the draft in principle, the bill was shelved.
The draft was only discussed again in 2015, following 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Wijesinghe said. Since then the Bill has already gone through 22 amendments and has yet to be approved by the Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.
There were a lot of amendments that diluted the powers of the Auditor General and the independence of the office; however, these have been rectified now, Wijesinghe assured.
“This was drafted by a committee which had international exposure on Audit matters, but then individuals who had no training in Audit who didn’t even have an understanding in basic concepts started amending it, that is why it got diluted. There were a lot of contradictions, even conflicting with the constitution. But now we have been able to fix it,” he said.
The main reason for the opposition for the Act comes due to a provision which gives the Auditor General power to issue surcharge certificates to recover losses to the state due to malpractices or illegal actions of government officials.
In a last ditch effort get the long delayed Audit bill passed through Parliament he appealed to the legislators to move with the draft without the clause which has raised fears.
Mayadunne too appealed to Members of the Parliament to present the bill as a private bill, to surpass the deadlock in the Government.