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Fighting corruption

October 30, 2012

FIGHTING corruption is a long hard road for Sri Lanka, but the apparent increase in confidence in the Bribery and Corruption Commission is a welcome change. It was reported that the … Commission has received 2,535 complaints against government officers since 2011, showing that more people were coming forward to complain against the menace…. Even though the number of complaints have increased, it is important to speed up the process so that the investigations can result in justice sooner rather than later….

Another feather in the Commission’s cap is that it has filed a case against the National Savings Bank chairman over its controversial Rs390m transaction with The Finance Company. While the trade was cancelled by the president, there are still many questions … and it is heartening that the Commission took the step to file the case only four months after the incident. This may seem … a long time … but … considering the fact that many questionable dealings take place without ever coming into the open, this is light speed by Sri Lankan standards.

…The opportunities for scams are everywhere. It can only be hoped that the steps taken thus far will pave the way for stronger anti-corruption activism from the public themselves…. The Commission has long been accused of letting the ‘big fish’ get away, but its hands are tied by the need for people to come forward. But this in turn is impeded by lack of security for people who testify…. Without these safeguards … the larger questions on corruption will remain unanswered.

The government is keen to promote Sri Lanka as a vibrant democracy, but what the public needs to understand is that their right to information, which promotes good governance, is an entitlement that is perhaps even more important than elections or multiple demonstrations. — (Oct 26)