Controversial Governor of Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendran has identified at least five officials of the bank, who he believes disclosed vital information on his credit card spending to NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa, sources close to Mahendran told the Colombo Telegraph. Mahendran’s action however goes against the government’s rhetoric and assurance of the public’s right to information.
“At least three officers from the finance division and two from the internal audit, a vociferous trade union activist, a senior member of the top management have been identified to have committed the said offence and immediate action will be taken in the due course,” the sources said.
According to the sources, these officials have orchestrated the act at the request of a senior member in the joint opposition who has used Weerawansa to take the lead in the mudslinging campaign.
“Disciplinary action is expected to be carried out on the basis of integrity as the said officials have aided and abetted to tarnish the image of the Central bank and the Governor,” the sources said.
“Four of the said officials have been identified to be close allies of the former governor who had rewarded them undue promotions and several overseas trips per year,” the sources added.
The sources said that the Central Bank will soon announce and provide a detail of the expenditure incurred for the governor’s official work and a few instance where governor has reimbursed the amount spent for purchasing some books for his personal use.
According the ARTICLE 19, Individuals who release information on wrongdoing – whistleblowers – must be protected. This Principle was endorsed the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, in his report to the 2000 session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/2000/63), and referred to by the Commission in its 2000 resolution on freedom of expression, as well as by his successor in 2013 in his report to the UN General Assembly in 2013 (A/68/362, 4 September 2013).
The principle of Protection for Whistleblowers says; Individuals should be protected from any legal, administrative or employment-related sanctions or harms for releasing information on wrongdoing by public or private bodies. This should be established clearly in law. The best practice is for countries to adopt comprehensive laws that apply to all related aspects of criminal, civil, administrative and labour law.
“’Wrongdoing’ in this context includes the commission of a criminal offence, failure to comply with a legal obligation, a miscarriage of justice, corruption or dishonesty, or serious maladministration regarding a public body. It also includes a serious threat to health, safety or the environment, whether linked to individual wrongdoing or not.
“Whistleblowers should benefit from protection as long as they acted with the reasonable belief that the information was substantially true and disclosed evidence of wrongdoing. Such protection should apply even where disclosure would otherwise be in breach of a legal or employment requirement. Those that sanction, harm or harass whistleblowers should themselves face administrative or legal sanctions or criminal penalties in the most serious cases.
“In some countries, protection for whistleblowers is conditional upon a requirement to release the information to certain individuals or oversight bodies. Protection for disclosure to other individuals including to the media should be available where the persons reasonably believed that disclosure to those bodies would not result in an adequate remedy for the wrongdoing that is exposed. Anonymous disclosure should also be allowed and protected.
“The ‘public interest’ for disclosure to other parties include the media in this context would include situations where the benefits of disclosure outweigh the harm, or where an alternative means of releasing the information is necessary to protect a key interest. This would apply, for example, in situations where whistleblowers need protection from retaliation, where the problem is unlikely to be resolved through formal mechanisms, where there is an exceptionally serious reason for releasing the information, such as an imminent threat to public health or safety, or where there is a risk that evidence of wrongdoing will otherwise be concealed or destroyed.”