Posted on March 10th, 2018

Sarath Wijesinghe former Ambassador to UAE and Israel

Bribery and corruption is rampant

Bribery and corruption is rampant and all over like air and breathe. Development and reputation of the country depends on the impact of the corrupt regime and governance which has a direct impact of law and order and rule of law. There is no room for law and order with corrupt rule and rulers with bribery corruption and nepotism. Sri Lanka has ranked the 4th position in the globe with law and orders ranked very much below, also ranked as a main Hub on drugs and drug peddling with daylight robberies and crimes increasing day by day. “President Sirisena” has launched war against Bribery and corruption by appointing three Ministers headed by the Health Minister who is inquired into by the on accusations and misuse of public funds in rent, shipping scams and other shady transections which are in the public domain. Incidentally Prime Minister who is alleged to be a main brainchild of Bond Scam by inviting and defending the main accused “Arjun Mahandran”, too have launched a vigorous campaign against bribery and corruption in the recent past by appointing a group to carry out the program under his personal supervision, despite programs by both President and the Prime Minister whilst Bribery and corruption is thriving countrywide as before. It is an open secret that the members of the executive and legislature is accused of direct and indirect bribery and corruption known to the citizen carrying on the criminal acts of bribery against the state without being investigated. Only few members of the government are inquired into for petty incidents when accusations amounting to millions and trillions on the ministers on the government are still shelved. Accusations against former President “Mahinda Rajapaksa” swindling and siphoning 18 billion dollars in Dubai complained by the Health Minister ” Rajitha Senaratna” is shelved with no inquiry or further proceedings. Allegations against the President on corruption and nepotism will emerge only after he relinquishes the post as he is currently protected by the immunity under the constitution. Bribery Commission should take notice of complaints via media and take immediate steps or exonerate the accused person to be fair by him. Bribery is an offence against the state punishable jointly under the bribery act and the penal code with a special procedure by a Commission appointed by the Constitutional Council and headed by a Director General a reputed and experienced lawyer also appointed by the President. Independence of the Commissioners, Director General and the staff is guaranteed and adequate facilities are given to conduct the inquiries with no fear and interference. Bribery act no 11 0f 1958/2 of 1965/7 of 65/38 of 79/1 of 75/9 of 88/19 of 1994/11 of 1954 and no 19 of 1994 will be amended soon again, which defines bribery as who offers any gratification to a public servant as an inducement or reward for a public servant for performing or abstaining for performing any official act or expediting or hindering or preventing the performance of any official act whether by that public servant or any other public servant or assisting favoring hindering or delaying any person in the transection of any business with the Government. With the limited staff and the resources it is not possible to net the countrywide bribe takers unless other methods such as Education, Name and Shame methods with the help of the media, recognizing and rewarding the complainants and the informants, appointment of dedicated officers in  the public sector, are few suggestions to be followed in the clamping process. But in the complicated economic regime of millions of transactionsit is hard to find millions of indirect/direct bribing in business transactions and government dealings adopting traditional methods of investigations.

Currently – a hot topic and seminars conducted

Because it is the current hot topic of the day two seminars were organized at Organization of Professionals on 15th and 16th – one on 15th by Sri Lanka 2050 organized and moderated by the former Ambassador Sarath Wijesinghe, with speakers D E W Gunasekara- former Miister, Rusiripala Tennekoon, former BOC Chairman, Nanagananda Kodituwakku,  activist lawyer and Sham Nuwan Ganawatta  the  journalist who inaugurated his book on the title “Kawada Hora” – Who is the Thief in the bond Scam with the topic” Bond Scam and Corruption  and impact on the economy” ,and the other seminar on 16/2/2018 jointly organized by the BASL and OPA on the topic “Bribery and  Good Governance” addressed by Sarath jayamanna – Director General Bribery Commission, S C Mayadunna – a former Auditor General, and Yasantha Kodagoda Additional Solicitor General and Presidents Council. First seminar was lively while the second seminar was somewhat academic. The seminars indicated the interest and activism in the field of Bribery and corruption and deliberations were extremely useful on planning combating war on bribery and corruption and planning out short and long term strategies for eradication of the menace. There is news that the Commission will be given more powers to expand the jurisdiction, and to bring private sector under the Bribery Act  are moves on the right direction though the existing powers could be properly utilized if there a genuine need, desire and direct power without the influence of invisible forces acting with remote controls of the governance which has proven to be bitter past experiences as once Churchill state med “what worries is inaction and not necessarily active in the right direction” . Bond Scam responsible for the loss of billions of EPF, Bank, and public money took long time to expose those responsible in the toothless commission of inquiry which could have been easily dealt with the Bribery Commission on its own motion. We do not find fault of the Director General and the Commission as it is not our culture as in USA where the sitting President was rigorously interrogated by the special prosecutor, when in Sri Lanka prime Minister who invited Mahandran to Sri Lanka and defended him in the Parliament was soft peddled by giving few questions in advance contrary to the professional way the other witness were interrogated. Minister Duminda Dissanayaka and Minister Rajitha Senaratna are alleged to overspent millions on rental scams which are in the public domain which has not come to the purview of the Bribery Commission with many other scams in the public domains. Public will have trust and confidence on the Commission and will cooperate if proactive matters are taken place to bring the offenders to justice whilst catching sprats in small transactions.

Previous convictions of members of legislature

It is ironic that despite  the steps against  Bribery and Corruption no member of the legislature or Executive was convicted  is except during S W R D Bandaraneika’s  regime when “Monnakulama” “Marrikker” and few members  of the  parliament  were convicted as a result of the findings of “Talgodapitiya” Commission. Members of the Parliament were found guilty in India and many countries on charges of bribery and corruption, but in Sri Lanka despite the citizen’s knowledge and information on the public domain bribery is rampant from the top downwards. Activist lawyer N “Kodituwakku” has filed a case in the Supreme Court on misuse and corruption by all the members of the Parliament with a loss of 3 billion to the tax payer on tax free vehicles which is dragging on technical grounds without quick disposal which is the need of the hour to set an example to the culprits.

Complete eradication impossible but try to minimize the cancer

Eradication of bribery and corruption is impossible. The attempts should be to minimize and to introduce a bribery/corruption free culture in the society. Is it possible in the current political and economic situation of poverty struggle corruption with easy black money and disappearance of the values of the citizen cherished historically with religious and cultural bonds which now has diapering  fast. Director General “Sarath jayamanna “was comparing the situation in the west culturally anti Bribe trends to be followed in the Sri Lankan polite and citizen, which is an arduous task in the most corrupt society with free economy freedom for bribery absence of law and order opportunities for illegal deals drug crime and weak implementation of legal regime.

Director General and Way forward

Director General appear to be working hard within his mandate which is an impossible task to achieve alone, unless legal structure is

strengthened and new strategies adopted with honest dedicate and committed leadership whiter than white. If the leadership is corrupting inert the political situation inevitably is worsened with disability.” Dilrukshy de Silve” started the job with enthusiasm and funfair who was compelled to leave, when services of” Lacille Silva” was abruptly discontinued by a powerful invisible hand with a blow on the trend against bribery. Toothless commission was appointed on the bond scam to catch the thieves of the biggest robbery in Sri Lanka ever when the main culprit is free with others enjoying the fruits freely worldwide. Prime Minister who invited controversial “Arjun Mahandran” to Sri Lanka  and defended him in the parliament was soft peddled at the commission with prearranged few questions reminding us of how Clinton was interrogated by the special prosecutor whilst he was still the powerful President – the most powerful person on the planet!. Law and Order, Rule of Law and Equality Before Law should be rigorously implemented to clamp down bribery and corruption!. Author Sarath Wjesinghe could be contacted on sarath7@hotmail.co.uk


  1. Nanda Says:

    Yes. This is the main problem.
    LTTE survived so many years because of Sinhala corruption.
    Muslims will completely transform the whole of Sri lanka to a Arab country in 50 years becuase of corruption of Sinhalas.
    Corruption is the mother of all national betrayals.

  2. Christie Says:

    I was trying to talk to Transparency International TI branch of our corrupt country and didn’t get anywhere. After a number of calls The bosses were not available to talk to me.

    I rang TI head quarters in Germany. After trying dropped off calls I managed to get some one who knew a bit about the 2017 Corruption Index report. After talking to the person the person said the people who are involved in the report was at a meeting. I said my observation of the report was that the most corrupt countries like Nigeria are in Africa are the countries that were and are being exploited by the ones in the least corrupt countries like the ones in Western Europe. She said I should ring the people who wrote the report and gave me an extension number. But I was not able to due to my personal circumstances.

    Asked her who funds them they are the countries with less corruption and International Corporations.

    In concluding our discussion I asked where he/she was from as she/he did not sound German or Turkish.

    The person said I am from one of the Corrupt countries ,,,,,,

    Look at who are the most corrupt in our country. The Sinhalese. Indians are not corrupt or are not heard of though they control our economy and politics and have been exploiting us for two centuries..

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