Written by Lahiru Fernando
08 May, 2017 | 12:59 am
Is the Anti-Corruption Secretariat on the brink of shutdown?
According to several national news papers, such is the case. The newspapers say that plans are currently afoot to shut down the secretariat.
Quoting a senior spokesperson for the government, the newspapers reported of a decision to wind down operations of the Anti-Corruption Secretariat as it was “not fulfilling expectations” and because it was “wasting government funds”. The overreach of certain officials at the Secretariat has also been given as a reason for the decision.
Though reports say the Secretariat is “wasting funds”, the ACS say that it has received around 400 complaints so far. All complaints have directed to Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division, the Criminal Investigation Department and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption.
These complaints include matters pertaining to;
Furthermore, ACS Director Ananda Wijepala has rejected all allegations raised through the newspaper reports.
Wijepala says that if there are any complaints regarding officials at the Secretariat, complaints should be filed with proper investigations to follow.
The Secretariat was established on February 19, 2015 to assist the Anti Corruption Committee appointed to probe allegations of serious fraud and corruption under the previous regime.
The Committee was appointed on a recommendation from the National Executive Council and is chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The members of the committee:
The initial term for Secretariat was for six months. However, it has been extended periodically since with the current term expiring on June 30.
Professor Sarath Wijesuriya of the ‘National movement for a Just Society’ said that complaints were made to the Prime Minister on a number of occasions, saying that no action is being taken against corruption. To which, according to Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya, Premier has responded saying work is being done according to the law.
However, Prof. Wijesuriya point out that these current revelations have cast doubts on the premier’s claims. “What did The prime minister do all this time, was it merely a media charade?” questioned Prof. Wijesuriya
“On the 9th of January, Ranil Wickrememesinghe, accompanied by Thiru Nadeshan, met with Mahinda Rajapaksa. Why did Thiru Nadeshan accompany Ranil Wickrememesinghe? On whose side is Thiru Nadeshan today? This is a warning to the prime minister. We also call on the president to direct his attention to this ..” – he added.
Left Centre co-convener Chameera Perera has pointed out that the closure of the ACS could lead to the collapse of the FCID.
According to Perera, the Secretariat holds complaints lodged regarding both the previous regime as well as the current government. He pointed out that even the complaints regarding the bond scam were lodged with the anti corruption secretariat.
“Have the rogues of the Rajapaksa government reached an accord with the rouges of this government to sweep all this under the carpet?..” questioned Chameera Perera.
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