Transparency International’s Sri Lanka chapter (TISL) will undergo an independent review, in the wake of serious allegations of corruption and malpractices leveled against the local chapter and members of its hierarchy.
A senior official attached to the Berlin based anti-corruption body told the Colombo Telegraph that the four week institutional audit which will be carried out by an independent reputed body will determine any malpractices as alleged by some staff members of the local chapter.
“When Transparency International receives a complaint, we pay a lot of attention to it. Given that the allegations are very institutional in nature, we are helping TISL to carry out an internal audit to see what the real caps are within the chapter. We believe this audit will help resolve the issues,” Rukshan Nanayakkara, advocacy manager for Sustainable Development Goals at the international secretariat told the Colombo Telegraph.
Asoka Obeyesekere who took over as TISL’s Executive Director a year ago has come under serious allegations by a group of staff members who have gone on to claim that they have been penalized by the senior management for highlighting various malpractices and corruption at the chapter. In a letter addressed to TISL Chairman, Lakshan Dias, three staff members, Shan Wijetunge (Senior Manager, Advocacy & Public Relations), Ananda Jayasekara (Programme Manager) and Jagath Liyana Arachchi (Manager, Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre), who also identified themselves as whistleblowers brought to light a series of issues facing the local chapter, while also requesting Dias to carry out an independent and impartial inquiry without any of the Board Members of TISL being involved in such an inquiry.
However, Nanayakkara noted that since taking over as the new Executive Director, Obeyesekere had made some changes, which was all administrative related including the reshuffling of staff. “This created concerns among staff,” he said.
While elaborating that TI operates as a federation of NGOs, Nanayakkara said that TI permits a particular entities to use its tag for a period of three years, and every three years the local chapter is reviewed to verify if it follows the stipulated governance, transparency and accountability standards, the international secretariat is built on. “Any recommendations that come out from the institutional audit will be collectively looked at and we will see what can be done to address the issues, if any,” he said.
Nanayakkara added that the audit will help determine if there has been any cases of corruption, malpractices at the chapter as alleged by some of the staff, as well as any cases where staff who call themselves whistleblowers have been penalized. (By Munza Mushtaq)