ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

Onus on President to restore status quo says TISL

Removal of Bribery Commission Director General

In an Urgent Position Paper issued by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) on the crisis created as a result of the removal of the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), it has been pointed out that both the appointment and removal of the Director General and other key officials should be done by the President upon the recommendation of the Constitutional Council in consultation with the Commission itself.

The anti-corruption body has also called upon policymakers to consider global good practices with the sole objective of preserving the credibility and integrity of the anti corruption commission.

It states that it is of the firm belief that the arbitrary removal of the DG does not build confidence either in the office of the President, his government or in the Commission itself.

“It has already created an irreversibly bad precedent. The onus is on the President to restore the status quo., TISL said. It further observed that Sri Lanka is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption whilst having ratified the regional anti corruption initiative called OECD-ADB Anti Corruption Initiative and is therefore obliged to consider the provisions of these international instruments.

In these circumstances, the act of removal of the DG may be perceived by the public as interference by the President in regard to the independence of the Commission and therefore there is a heavy burden on the President to dispel such interpretations, it states.

TISL has pointed out that if the President or any other person has in his/her possession material to substantiate allegations against any official of the Commission, that material should immediately be submitted to the Commission without the President or any outsider deciding the issue without any fair inquiry following rules of natural justice, TISL said.

Following good global practices, a transparent and accountable complaint mechanism should be introduced to the Commission. It also remarks that the absence of review of the operational aspects of the Commission is a major lacuna.

Had there been a transparent review mechanism of the operational aspects within the Commission both to review its operations and efficiency, there would not be any room for false allegations by political authorities or corrupt elements. Thus, TISL has stated that the Commission should consider a suitable review mechanism, similar to that which is accepted by the Independent Commission against Corruption in Hong Kong.

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