The Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe has been charged for corruption. A formal complaint in this regard was lodged to the Chairman of the Commission today.
In his complaint, Public Interest Rights Activist and lawyer, Nagananda Kodituwakku accused Wickramasinghe of abusing her position to suppress and/or ignore the credible and plausible complaint made to her on 26th August 2016, against the Members of Parliament (both elected and appointed through the National List after being defeated at the General Election) in the ruling coalition and also in the opposition, who have abused their office to confer benefit and/or favour for themselves and/or others which is a punishable offence under Section 70 of the Bribery Act.
The said complaint, made against the abuse of tax-free permits by the MPs has been supported by overwhelming evidence of abuse of tax-free car permits by MPs for unjust enrichment. In the said complaint, it was mentioned that these permits have been issued in the public interest, facilitating the MPs to discharge their public office effectively, in terms of Section 3C of the Excise Special Provisions Act No 8 of 1994.
Activist Kodituwakku states that the investigation conducted by him into this fraud has revealed that these tax-free permits are sold in the open market for exorbitant sums, and in most cases for Rs. 25 million or more. The motorcar importers who purchase these permits import vehicles defrauding the entire tax component and the buyers of such vehicles register them under their names, immediately after effecting the first registration in the name of the MPs at the Department of Motor Traffic.
Kodituwakku also pointed out that most of the buyers who have bought these vehicles are reluctant to effect simultaneous transfers in their names at the Department of Motor Traffic, obviously to evade being caught in the offensive act. And instead they use the vehicle in the name of the permit holder MPs, which is also a punishable offence under Section 12 of the Motor Traffic Act.
The Activist has informed the Chairman of the Commission that he submitted a similar complaint dated 11th December 2014 made to the Commission and that too was ignored, and this dismal failure on the part of the Corruption Commission has effectively led to the breakdown of the rule of law, concerning bribery and corruption. The Chairman of the Commission has been informed that breakdown of the rule of law is such that some MPs have even resorted to take legal action, against the the buyers of their vehicles for not settling the full purchase price agreed upon, despite their selling of the vehicle (imported on a tax-free permit) itself is an illegal act.
The activist says that this gross abuse of public funds by the MPs has reached an unimaginable scale, incurring a huge loss of revenue of over Rs 7.875 billion as the government is made to lose Rs 35 million for each vehicle in this despicable and unlawful act, while the buyer of the permit only pays Rs 1650/- for each vehicle. Supporting the complaint with a report that he had furnished to the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic, requesting registration details of the MP permit vehicles, the activist states that the tax component so defrauded is shared between the MP (Rs 25 million) and the car importer (Rs 10 million) who buys the permit.
In the formal complaint made against the Wickramasinghe, Kodituwakku states that the absence of accountability process in this country has already come under scrutiny by the United Nations Human Rights Council, compelling the Government of Sri Lanka to concede that the people have no trust and confidence in the administration of justice and persuading it to co-sponsor the Resolution (A/HRC/RES/30/1) passed on 01st Oct 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The activist says that the Government of Sri Lanka has been forced into this embarrassing position and disrepute, due to the failures of this nature by those who hold high public offices at the expense of the general public. He also highlighted that in Sri Lanka the lawmakers of Sri Lanka have become lawbreakers and their deceitful fraudulent actions are being shielded by the ignorance and inaction of the CIABOC, openly betraying the trust placed in it by the people of Sri Lanka.
Therefore, Kodituwakku, has requests the Chairman of the Commission to order an immediate investigation into the abuse of office by Mrs Dilruskshi Wirckaramasinghe, the Director General, for ignoring her statutory duty, which renders her incapable of performing her duties as the Director General of the CIABOC and also to initiate a credible investigation in terms of Section 4 of the Act No 19 of 1994, into the complaint dated 26th August 2016 made against the corrupt MPs for the abuse of their office for unjust enrichment.