Bribery and corruption -The main Enemy of the nation
Posted on September 5th, 2017

Sarath Wijesinghe

Bribery is omnipresent with a long history starting from the time immemorial and spreading fast at all levels of the community.

It is cancerous, and exists all with no borders and barriers. Efforts made by the State, religious leaders, and social workers to arrest or complete eradication of this menace has miserably failed due to excessive greed.

Corruption erodes trust in Governments, businesses and markets. Bribery is an offence punishable under the Penal Code as far back as 1882. In 1994 Act No 19 was created to combat bribery and corruption. The preamble of the Bribery Act states that it is an establishment to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption and direct institutions for precautions for offences under the bribery act and the declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law No 01 of 1975and the matters connected or incidental.

Chapter 36 provides the definition as an act to provide for the prevention and punishment of bribery and to make consequential provisions relating to the operation of other written law.

Commission to investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption will be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council by (Article 41) out of the nominees submitted by the Constitutional Council.”

The Commission is given enormous powers to combat Bribery and Corruption in the entire country with a strong support of professional and technically qualified staff with branches.


  • Bribery is omnipresent with a long history starting from time immemorial and spreading fast at all levels of the community.   
  • Corruption erodes trust in Governments, businesses and markets.  
  • Citizens had high hopes on the learned, and pleasant new Bribery Commissioner who has still not appeared to have started his job in sweeping the dirt.   
  • Is it incompetency or lack of interest of the Government on eradication process is in the minds of the citizen sandwiched between the State corrupt officials and incompetence of the Government?  
  • If the system is not effective short and long effective genuine methods are to be adopted and implemented to curb it. 

 


Surprisingly, so far, only 822 complaints and 639 anonymous calls have been received in 2017, incurring an expenditure of Rs. 1, 515,200,392 (Rs. 1.5 bn) as expenditure for the fiscal year, which indicates the loss of interest or loss of trust in the system on using the institution created to combat corruption.

It is in the mandate of the Commission to educate the citizen on their rights and duties jointly combating this menace which has drastic effects on the life if the citizen and the economy of the country.

Part 2 of the Act deals with such offences and could be considered as the most relevant in today’s context  to deal with contractors and others offering any gratification as an inducement, solicits or accepts bribe at any given moment at any given place in the country.

Institutionalized Crime and Corrupt Institutions

President Maithripala Sirisena has strongly echoed in the Sinhala daily paper Ada” on 31.08.2017 that  Bribery, corruption, wastage and inefficiency were in their highest ebb and  has become a sickness in society and that it needs a concerted effort of all parties.”

Presumably headed by the Bribery Commission, which he carefully picked up to lead, to arrest and eradicate bribery and corruption. President in his official capacity as President during his tenure and also as the powerful Health, and Agriculture Minister in the last regime has tirelessly fought against corruption, bribery, nepotism and misuse of national wealth.

Lacille de Silva the able and honest Secretary of the PRECIFAC and Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe DG/BC, who started the cleaning process with lot of energy and funfair with long marches were compelled to exit with disappointments to themselves and the country raises eyebrows of the concerned citizens ready to help the campaign on the eradication of this menace.

Citizens had high hopes on the learned, and pleasant new Bribery Commissioner, who has still not appeared to have started his job in sweeping the dirt.

Is it incompetency or lack of interest of the Government on eradication process is in the minds of the citizen sandwiched between the State corrupt officials and incompetence of the Government?

This reminds us of the Quotation by Wangars Mathis” a Kenyan Activist when you have bad governance the resources are destroyed- there is illegal logging, and soil erosion. I got pulled deeper and deeper and saw how there’s issues became linked to governance corruption and dictatorship” . Churchill said what worries him in inaction and not action in the right direction.

Police, Court Administration, Customs, Port, Electricity/Energy, Water, Motor Traffic, Immigration, and the highest echelons of the legislature are among the most corrupt institutions the Bribery Commission can deal with at any given moment with no notice.
The President should be credited for attempts made and steps taken and excellent speeches on the subject

While the sharks are free to exploit the nation further with the power gained and money swindled, the small time bribe takers are busy exploiting the masses in the absence of a consolidated disciplined and forceful mechanism country wide with the network of Police officers.

President’s speeches are fine and attempts to curb corruption are commendable attempting to arrest and prevention corruption, but it appears that there is something wrong somewhere for which an immediate solution is to be found.

It is time the professionals and the genuine activist groups take to the streets. Enough is enough. Bribery and corruption appear to be in the hands of those who are in the office.
The protection of the politicians shows that the menace purely originated and groomed by politicians for personal benefits.

Bribery and corruption is the oldest and most prevalent crime.

In 1931/47 seven members of the Legislature were found guilty and1959/60 six Parliamentarians were found guilty for bribery and corruption by Talgodipitiya Commission.

Since then to date there are no records of any attempts of legal process though the menace was thriving with a terrific speed when Singapore the worst corrupt nation in 1952 has reached the 4th position on clean bill of health in world standards.

The secret is simple- in 1987 Prime Minister inquired into the corruption of Minister Ta Wing Van” – while the inquiries are in progress, the Minister committed suicide leaving a letter to the Prime Minister because he knew the Prime Minister is genuine and serious in clamping the menace, which is not the case in Sri Lanka.

This shows that there should be a genuine desire from the above and the top of the pyramid should be straight and clean.

Parliament should be an honourable shrine and the conduct of its members should be serious, educative, and vision based.

Can one compare the CB bond sale controversy-an issue of national importance, to James Bond Episode”?

When the economy needs tough measures, one wonders what avenues are left of the citizen helplessly awaiting for justice and fair play from the rulers entrusted with the nation as trustees for a short period of time.

It is noted with regret that only four members of the legislature have provided the declaration of assets in which non-declaration is a criminal offence!

Payment of 21 million for an unoccupied building to date continuously is a day light robbery and Corruption Commission should take steps on its own volition as a matter of urgency!

Way forward

Obviously corruption and bribery cannot be eradicated and the attempts should be made to minimise it as far as possible. If the system is not effective short and long effective genuine methods are to be adopted and implemented to curb it.

It is difficult to combat bribery and corruption as corruption is linked to drug, underworld, politics, money political power and Government machinery on contracts and development projects.

Corruption in the Transparency International – one of the largest money making NGOs have disassociated a lawyer, who has charged 3.5 million for an insignificant inquiry and submitting an substandard report

It is alleged that no receipts were issued and break down is not given as required by the rules of profession. Political intervention and excessive media circus are to be avoided.
Modern IT developments should be made use of for the citizen participation when the citizens are armed with mobile phones and knowledge on Technology  and Communication skills.

Witness protection, remuneration, inducements, offers, to be streamlined and modified and modernised.

Payment of 21 million for an unoccupied building to date continuously is a day light robbery and Corruption Commission should take steps on its own volition as a matter of urgency!

Officers should be given incentives and proper training encouragement should be given to the civic minded citizens in the campaign against corruption.

Imprisonment and fine should be increased and incentives to be offered to the concerned activist citizens.

Government Servants are privileged with lot of perks and future stability with pensions and similar benefits over other employees in the Private Sector. They should be educated and trained to live within means a simple and contended life devoid of extravagance to repulse bribe and corruption.

No lenience should be shown to those responsible for bribery or corruption inefficiency and inaction on their duties.

The writer could be contacted [email protected]

9 Responses to “Bribery and corruption -The main Enemy of the nation”

  1. Senerath Says:

    “Bribery and corruption -The main Enemy of the nation”

    Agree with the writer 100%. For example “Bribery and corruption” can create a another LTTE easily becuase ANY bribe taker cannot even come close to be called the last of the “Patriot”.

  2. Christie Says:

    Dear Sarath;

    How many Indian Colonial Parasites have been charged with taking or giving bribes?

    How come only Sinhalese are alleged to be taking bribes and involved in corruption?

    Thanks.

  3. Christie Says:

    “President Maithripala Sirisena has strongly echoed in the Sinhala daily paper Ada” on 31.08.2017 that  Bribery, corruption, wastage and inefficiency were in their highest ebb and  has become a sickness in society and that it needs a concerted effort of all parties.””

    Very interesting.

    Sirisena himself is the product of the biggest corruption. He was chosen by Indian advised by Chandrika to be the President Candidate. Billions of rupees spent by India, Indian Businessmen supporting him. Billions spent on dividing the Sinhala votesby monk Sobitha. Billions spent on Gnanasara on alienating Sinhala Christians and Muslims.

    Then Indian Colonial Parasite block vote for Sirisens.

    Is that CORRUPTION?

    You mention a Kenyan activist who received an award from Indira Gandhi. Kenya is another Indian Colony like us.

    As soon as Sirisena was voted in there were talks organized in the West by Indians and their Socialist suckers.

    One of such talks were oraganised by a Indian Colonial Parasite who made a fortune from Kenya.

  4. Charles Says:

    Dear Sarath,

    We all know that corruption is endemic in politics . Some get caught and others don’t. But progress and development in a country cannot be held up spending the time of the Judiciary and the executive running after and meeting out justice to the perpetrators of bribery and corruption.

    In Sri Lanka ever since the Yahapalanaya came into power they have done nothing else other than spending their time and energy to accuse and meet justice to those supposed to be corrupt individuals of the past government, while Yahapalanaya politicians themselves become worse corrupt individuals than the past.

    But though accused corrupt, the past governments of the President Mahinda Rajapakse developed the country and made the country advance socially and economically… That was despite all the accusations of corruption, dictatorship or lack of democracy.

    Sirisena and Ranil brag about freedom of speech , establishment of democracy , and about getting rid of Dictatorship, but they have not done any thing to develop the country other than keep on accusing the past political situation for the failure of the present.

    Therefore is it not time to stop writing and speaking about bribery and corruption and forces this government to do some thing positive even if they continue to be more corrupt than the rest of the previous governments since independence ?

    Charles

  5. Christie Says:

    Charles the important thing is to understand the cause of an effect. Why are Sinhalese corrupt or alleged that they are corrupt? What is the cause?

    The cause is simple to understand. The Sinhalese are the majority but they are the poorest in the country. The economy is in the hands of the minority Indians. This is the case in most Indian colonies and some States in India.

    The Indians run our country by dividing the Sinhalese. This started a long time ago.

    Open political activities of this process started about a century ago after the first World War.

    Start of Socialism in Ceylon was the start of this process.

  6. Nimal Says:

    Situation is very bad in the country where there’s corruption at all levels. We want to talk to our local MP but he is busy with his own agenda,doesn’t know that he is elected to serve the people and not himself.
    With the escalating national debt peaked in 2014 fearing defeat in 2 years time MR clearly went to pools hoping to come back for 5 years instead of 2 remaining years.It back fired and this new lot are no better,wants to make a fast buck while country is still breathing.We the tax payers will be lumbered with an unbearable burden of paying back the national debt that is worsened by corrupt commissions and kickbacks. We need the colonial types to help us or a new party consist of very honest people who are dedicated to run the country.

  7. Charles Says:

    Nimal Please consider….

    all this story about President Mahinda Rajapakse went to elections before time because he knew that he would have problems paying back debt, are opinions of the Yhapalanaya vested interest of survival without developing the country. Who is the President who will go to an election to get defeated ?

    Mahinda Rajapakse had done so much work for the development of the country and all the work he and his Governments did were before the eyes of the people both in the South in The North the West and the East. There was evidence of the economic development and a growing high standard of living. There was no difficulty in the payment of the debts and that too is evident in the economic situation left by Mahinda Rajapakse Government on the 8 th January,2015.

    Things would have been alright for the Yahapalanaya Government, if it did not try to undo every thing that was done by President Mahinda Rajapakse. Yahapalanaya should not have changed any thing but carried on from where President Mahinda Rajapakse had stoppe…then things would have been much better. But UNP had otyher ideas. Appointing Ravi Karunanayake as the Finance Minister and stopping Port City project etc. were suicidal. Now the Yahapalanaya knowing that they had mismanaged and planned the Bond Scam to fill the empty party treasury, puts all the blame for its failure on the President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government.

    What if we give our opinion that Mahinda Rajapakse called for election before time, because he knew that a change of Government would not help the country to have a definite development to achieve full status of a developed country. Therefore he wanted another five years to complete the development projects in his mind. He was sure that he would win as people knew what he is capable of doing- eliminate terrorism and withing five years developed the infrastructure and economy as no one had done ever before him.

    But he failed to understand real mentality of the Tamils and the Muslims. It was the votes of the Tamils, Muslims and the UNP Block vote that defeated Mahinda Rajapakse at the Presidential election. The majority of the Sinhala Buddhists were with him.

    Still to-day it would be Mahinda Rajapakse who will be able to put the country on rail. Not as the President but in another way perhaps, without having UNP tagged behind to spoil everything. The failure of the Yahapalanaya is the failure of the UNP, and Sirisena has no Vision.

  8. Christie Says:

    Charles and Nimal:
    Mahinda went to polls a year earlier in 2010 when India and Indians in Ceylon managed to field Sarath Fonseka and paid him well and spend billions on his campaign.

    No one knows the real reason why Mahinda went to polls early a second time.

    But India was ready with Chandrika to kick out Mahinda because Mahinds did not become a puppet of India though Indian backed him in2005.

  9. Ratanapala Says:

    There is no place on earth where corruption – the end results of greed and power is not found. We are all mundane creatures subject to temptation. In this situation what is needed is the punishment to suit the crime. Punishment must be proportional to the crime and the injury it causes to the society on which it is inflicted.

    What really happens now is that the corrupt of all different political hues colluding to protect the culprits and each other. There must be strict laws that will finally lead to harsh punishment, public humiliation, and mandatory incarceration regardless of their station in life. What happens now is a travesty of justice where mega thievery is handled with kid gloves, while petit crimes are punished with the full extent of the law.

    A student who cheated at the ‘A’ Level examination is barred for life from sitting exams, a school principal is sent to prison for several years for accepting bribes, while the perpetrators of the Central Bank Bond Scam though exposed the very day it happened are still free birds, after more than two years enjoying all the joys life can bring. In fact, they are busy laundering the ill-gotten wealth making use of the time lapse. They go on to do the same crime a year later in March 2016 without batting an eyelid. How UNP coffers got replenished, how SLFP MPs got bribed in Singapore and how this money continues to fund other nefarious activities should see the light of day is only a hope and a dream!

    Prime Minister of the country who seems heavily implicated goes around as if he is Mr Clean still. The present Health Minister who has once been barred from the Parliament for corruption is now playing a big role in pointing fingers at others!

    The political opposition and the average citizen seems oblivious to the crime of the century or of the whole of history. SAITM issue has taken the front row, while the Mega Central Bank Bond Scam remains underrated. Theis is while the whole of the citizenry in Sri Lanka is paying higher taxes, lower exchange rates for the Rupee, higher interest rates for their borrowings and suffer the untold indignities of being lied to day in day out with false promises one more blatant than the other.

    At the Presidential Commission, the whole sordid tale of the biggest crime in the history of Sri Lanka is unraveling, but the citizens are still not sure, knowing the history of Government Commissions in Sri Lanka, what would be its end. Nobody so far has taken to highlight the fact that this crime took place just within the first 50 days of the Yahapalana – Good Governance Administration coming into power. The proceedings so far have unraveled that what took place is a well planned and organized crime with highest of the administration colluding.

    We the ordinary people are waiting with bated breath to see the final outcome of this sordid tale!

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