Good governance activist and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne has warned the Secretary of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board on possibility of imprisonment for as long as 10 years if a public servant is found guilty for corruption.
In a letter titled ‘The Responsibility of a Board Secretary to Advise the Chairperson, the Board & Top Management on Legal and Statutory Compliance and Risk Management’ to the Secretary on April 29, 2016, Jayaratne said a Board Secretary is expected to play an active role in risk management and in mitigating risk of institutional and personal liability of board members and top management, as well as in mitigating risks of reputation risks.
His letter comes, just weeks after he requested the Monetary Board Secretary to provide him all information pertaining to the recent Treasury Bond issuance from the Central Bank, amidst allegations of another bond scam.
The full text of Jayaratne’s letter is below;
29th April 2016.
Monetary Board of Sri Lanka,
Central Bank of Sri Lanka,
The Responsibility of a Board Secretary to Advise the Chairperson, the Board & Top Management on Legal and Statutory Compliance and Risk Management
I am sure you will agree with me, that the Codes of Secretarial Best Practice places an obligation and an expectation that the Secretary of the Board will be responsible for advising and guiding the board in its deliberations and decision making, in regard to legal and statutory compliance requirements. The Board Secretaries are often expected to develop and oversee the systems that ensure that the institution complies with all applicable codes of conduct and ethics, in addition to its legal and statutory requirements. Further a Board Secretary is expected to play an active role in risk management and in mitigating risk of institutional and personal liability of board members and top management, as well as in mitigating risks of reputation risks.
In recognition of the above accountability, kindly review the under noted statutory provisions applicable in Sri Lanka, and address the need for you to brief the Chairman, Board Members and top management of the consequential compliance commitments and essential risk management processes accountability of the Board and theTop Management;
CHAPTER 26 of the LEGISLATIVE ENACTMENTS -BRIBERY – Being AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF BRIBERY AND TO MAKE CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE OPERATION OF OTHER WRITTEN LAW. (1st March, 1954,) where under *PART V – OFFENCES OTHER THAN BRIBERY- Includes the section 70 –Corruption- brought in to force by the enactment [§ 7,20 1994.] which reads as;
70. Any public servant who, with intent, to cause wrongful or unlawful loss to the Government, or to confer a wrongful or unlawful benefit, favour or advantage on himself or any person, or with knowledge, that any wrongful or unlawful loss will be caused to any person or to the Government, or that any wrongful or unlawful benefit, favour or advantage will be conferred on any person-
(a) does, or forbears to do, any act, which he is empowered to do by virtue of his office as a public servant;
(b) induces any other public servant to perform, or refrain from performing, any act, which such other public servant is empowered to do by virtue of his office as a public servant;
(c) uses any information coming to his knowledge by virtue of his office as a public servant;
(d) participates in the making of any decision by virtue of his office as a public servant;
(e) induces any other person, by the use, whether directly or indirectly, of his office as such public servant to perform, or refrain from performing, any act,
shall be guilty of the offence of corruption and shall upon summary trial and conviction by a Magistrate be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand rupees or to both such imprisonment and fine.
CC. The Governor Central Bank
Members of the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka