23 September, 2018

Blog

TISL In Crisis: Staff Alleges Procedure Violation, Nepotism, Penalization Of Staff And Insider Dealings

The Sri Lankan Chapter of the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International (TI) appears to be battling a corruption crisis of its own with long standing staff members of the local chapter leveling serious allegations of corruption and malpractices at TI Sri Lanka (TISL).

Shan

Shan

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.

According to the three whistleblowers, there has been serious corruption and malpractices carried out at TISL including; violation of procedures in recruitment, awarding of contracts without calling for quotations, removal of three senior employees by citing false information even when the funds were available, violation of organisation manual, ill treatment meted out to staff members as well as nepotism & insider dealings.

Jagath

Jagath

“We appeal for your intervention and take appropriate action to conduct an impartial inquiry in to the following allegations and take preventive measures. We do have credible information to prove the allegations and willing to share them when an inquiry is being held,” they said in the letter.

Ananda Jayasekara, who has worked for TISL for ten years continuously although under several contracts renewed periodically alleged that he was victimised after whistleblowing. This is a clear violation of TISL’s own Whistleblower Protection Policy, says Jayasekara. Its whistleblower protection policy says: “TISL encourages staff members to expose any such behavior and is committed to providing whistle blower protection for such staff members. TISL will not tolerate harassment, retaliation or any type of discrimination against a whistleblower.” (Read the full policy here)

In June, former Executive Director of TISL, S. Ranugge openly questioned the integrity of TISL’s Board of Directors, accusing them of ‘illegal, irrational and unethical’ actions and decisions with respect to the termination of his (Ranugge’s) fixed term contract and the recruitment of the new Executive Director. Ranugge has furthermore alleged that members of the Board have been engaged in politics for personal gain and to reward friends with positions in the staff.

Ananda

Ananda

Meanwhile, the global anti-corruption body itself announced that they were inquiring in the various issues at the Sri Lankan Chapter. In a tweet on August 18, Transparency International said, “We take these issues seriously and are looking into this.” They made this statement in response to a question posed by journalist Rohan Jayasekera who asked how TI was addressing the current problems at its Sri Lanka chapter.

We publish below the whistleblowers’ letter in full:

Mr.Lakshan Dias,
Chairman
Transparency International Sri Lanka
No.5/1,
Elibank Road,
Colombo 05

Dear Sir,

Appeal to Conduct an Impartial Inquiry in to the Corruption & Malpractices Happening in TISL

The purpose of this communique is to enlighten you on the recent and current happenings within the organization. These unhealthy developments not only have stood contrary to the vision and the mission of the organization but also have tarnished the good name achieved by the TSIL through its anti-corruption activities.

It must be mentioned that during the last few months several attempts were made to work out an internal solution through preventive action as it was thought that dissemination of documented information on these misdemeanors would be detrimental to the organization’s well-being. Given the failure of such efforts, as long standing members of staff we felt that there is a need to request for an immediate and impartial inquiry in to the incidents with a view to take preventive action.

Already these misdemeanors are being discussed among a considerable section of the staff and it will remain a huge challenge to prevent these being discussed outside, media and among civil society activists.

A majority of the long standing staff who believe in the values, morals and action of the organization are not in approval of these wrong doings. They strongly believe that corrective measures must be taken. They are being hampered by the fears that those who had expressed themselves against these wrong doings have been sent home having terminated their contracts. We believe that more than a half of the entire staff would want to testify before an independent investigation provided there are guarantees that they would not be subject to a witch hunt and that their jobs would not be under threat by doing so.

We appeal for your intervention and take appropriate action to conduct an impartial inquiry in to the following allegations and take preventive measures. We do have credible information to prove the allegations and willing to share them when inquiry is being held.

  • Violation of procedures in Recruitment
  • Awarding of contracts without calling for quotations
  • The removal of three senior employees by citing false information even when the funds were available.
  • Violation of Organisation Manual
  • Ill treatment meted out for staff members.
  • Nepotism & insider dealings

We who signed this document making above allegation as whistleblowers and we believe Organaisational Manual & core values of the TISL have provided us enough opportunities act as whistleblowers.

When conducting an inquiry in to the allegations please do not appoint any of the Board members as criticism has leveled against some of the members as well.

Yours Faithfully,

Shan Wijetunge, Ananda Jayasekara, Jagath Liyana Arachchi

Related posts:

Transparency International Sri Lanka Punishes Corruption Whistleblower

Transparency International Inquiring Into Corruption Issues At Its Sri Lanka Chapter

Former Executive Director Ranugge Questions TISL’s ‘Transparency

Transparency International Silent On Public Interest Questions Related To Award Given To Victor Ivan

Vimukthi J’s Late Disclosures Tarnishes TISL’s Integrity Award Further

JC Weliamuna Confirms He Appeared For Lasantha Wickrematunge’s Murder Suspect

Weliamuna Appeared For Lasantha’s Murder Suspect Under Rajapaksas’ Watch: TI Director Now Evades Questions

Sri Lankan Airlines: Weliamuna Inquiry Costs Rs 3.5 Million

Sri Lankan Airlines Probe: Weliamuna Yet To Disclose Fee Breakdown

Absolute Conflict Of Interest: Maithri’s Investigator Weliamuna Must Go

Wiliamuna Controversy: Jayaratne Sees Nothing Wrong

Weliamuna Inquiry Costs Three Supreme Court Judges’ Combined Annual Salaries

Weliamuna Controversy: Now Chandra Jayaratne Goes Silent

Weliamuna Out Of Order: Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 5
    3

    Wonder who bankrolls this Transparent Out Fit..

    They seem to have no issues with Funds ,unlike our Srilankan Airlines, which is now run by Yahapalana PM’s own crew.

    With a little help from Paki Nawaz of course . may I add..

    • 0
      0

      Most Sri Lankan institutions are corrupt and /or run by groups and NETWORKS of cronies.

      The notion of meritocracy and professionalism and getting new ideas, skills and people into institutions, whether NGO or Govt. is nonexistent.
      It is ironic that TI has also become a crony outfit, but it always was with the likes of the crooked clown and Jarapassa stooge at Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal, being cultivated by Weliamuna way back in 2005!

      It is networks of cronies of politicians who run all govt. institutions and NGOs and their boards as well. This has become worse under Ayahapalanaya.
      Positions are not advertised, only unprofessional cronies and yes men are brought in!

  • 3
    1

    The Sri Lankan Chapter of the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International (TI)

    Sri Lankan corruption is even infecting international organization with some ties to Sri Lanka.

    The MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa culture appears to have deep roots.

    • 3
      1

      Corruption existed long before MaRa, he just took it to a higher level, the highest level ever.

  • 3
    0

    The country has developed a culture where money matters above everything else! Whatever one may be unless the pockets are filled with dollars to buy your way through, nothing moves in the current Srilanka.
    This is now well entrenched by the continued political fanning of the flames in the last thirty years by various leaders.
    With the Rajapakses it reached its pinnacle.
    With this set up, how can even the Transparent international staff resist the temptation? They too have families and children whose needs are growing!
    The problem has to be tackled from its roots. Once again the country has to learn to respect honesty and integrity above all else. Spurn dishonesty and deceit!
    Will this happen in our life time? I doubt very much!

  • 1
    1

    Why do Sri Lankans feel that corruption starts here and ends here ?
    This Globalised world it is interconnected and international / multinational.US corruption infects everyone and every nation.Their corporate driven foreign policy initiatives now have a far reaching arm, and appears in the form of non- government organisations (NGOs). Yes, including human rights, media and corruption watchdogs. No longer are NGOs independent organisations working for the welfare of humanity. So wake up and smell the roses – acknowledge the stench coming from the roses!!!

    • 1
      0

      ‘Why do Sri Lankans feel that corruption starts here and ends here?’

      Two reasons.

      In Sri Lanka corruption is endemic and exists from the President to the postman, while in Western democracies it is limited.

      In Sri Lanka corruption once discovered is always swept under the carpet, while in Western democracies it is almost always punished.

      • 1
        1

        Taraki
        You have not lived in Western nations or you think everything in these nations are far superior! Do you follow the news about the US presidential elections/ Hillary Clinton’s corruption? A very few people in US think Hillary Clinton will ever be punished for her crimes/ corruption. And what about Tony Blair? He is getting away with profiting from Iraq war and more- read the Chilcot report! As for your claims that postman to president in Sri Lanka is corrupt- I hope you have proof! Or you need help as you are suffering from a inferiority complex being Sri Lankan! May god bless you!

        • 1
          0

          Sorry AB, Sri Lankan society is corrrupt. There is an expectation of buckshee to get a task done even before starting it and afterwards when completed. If the beneficiaries do not get wages, ‘Buckshee’ may not be unreasoanable. The beneficiary pays the wage indirectly, which I assume happens a lot in Sri Lanka, given that there are lots of tightfisted and heartless employers. Nobody has to prove that corruption exists at all levels; just go to any government office, or a politician’s office/home and one will experience it oneself. Even if one goes to a commercial entity, hospital or a school one will need an insider/ friend to get one’s work done with reasonable effectiveness.

          Sri Lankan society still runs on the feudal system. We have legal systems and procedures only for window dressing, and these are thrown out of the window in practice. Granted it is not the only country in the world; just look 23-miles across the Palk Strait; there was the Global Giant of corruption that, until recent past, made Sri Lanka miniscule, that was until Rajapaksha’s became the rulers. Even before they started taking hefty bribes from foreign companies, they claimed the entire country as their family property. Even India was made a dwarf of corruption; MEGA BUCKSHEE for this one time innocuous government servant and man of the people. How about it?

          Many South Asian, South East Asian, and I believe African and South American countries including Mexico may be following this Buckshee line.

          European countries, US and Canada and Australia & New Zealand, I believe, have proper structured processes/ procedures that are, notionally corruption-free,and considered sacrosanct when it comes to the average citizen’s business. One cannot rely on a friend to ‘short cut’ a procedure or to offer a bribe against a prospective tender; if get caught all parties would have to face the forced high jump into the local prison, if proved culpable. However at high & top level businesses, in politics, international business a lot of organization sponsored corruption goes on, but they are so subtle and out of public eye. This is despite public declaration of company ethics, and legal challenges to prove or disprove if corruption did take place.

          As I always say, for a businessman there is no such thing as ethics, as long as they could make a fat profit. AB has already given examples and I need not elaborate, except mentioning Tony Blair’s intervention to suppress a Scotland Yard investigation into a multi million bribes scandal in an international business, which he thought was good for the country, never mind the ethics. It was all their to read in public media.

    • 0
      0

      I despair when I read comments that compare our Sri Lankan failings to the those of/in other countries. Why, for a change, don’t we set the standards for our behaviour in public life. Why do always say ‘they do it…’.

      I see this amongst the latest output of a once-reputable Colombo school (that once-upon-a-time set standards) who fall-back on the ‘they did it, so we did it’ excuse. What a come down.

      Do we not have enough people in public life who can set standards that we can all live up to, and guardians to maintain these standards?

  • 3
    0

    Lakshan Dias / Chairman….. less said about him the better.

  • 3
    0

    This doesn’t surprise me, when I levelled similar accusations, excluding corruption, against the directors of the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong I received my marching orders as well. The directors have never answered those accusations. I think it is significant that the previous director of TISL, Welliamuna, was a favourite of the AHRC.

  • 3
    0

    See how Weliamuna fighting for corruption

  • 2
    0

    No hope Sri Lanka :(

  • 1
    0

    @Pissu – Can you email us all the details with proof ? ( Colombo Telegraph ) until then we cannot publish your comment.
    Thank you

  • 2
    0

    writer please tell us from which side we should laugh at these officers and their so called NGO. This story tells us big stories behind all the so called NGOs that were said to be formed or established and fuction to serve general publics of this country without any prejudices. I think they all doing thing for their own benefits and as per their masters who finance them agendas.no benefits for the country at all.but for their own benefits in socially and economically.those NGOs should be made countable to committee like cope. their mandate and financial fairs should scrutinized.Otherwise all NGOs may become great headache to government and sovereignty of the country.Experience of countries that allowed NGOs to behave freely is that those NGOs brought them miseries and agonies but nothing else.

  • 2
    0

    So these NGO traitors can’t share the multi-million-dollar funds that they receive for their useless work. The buffoons that have been employed by NGOs have become multimillionaires. These NGO people are at Rupavahini, hosting political programs, even their guests are NGO traitors.

  • 1
    1

    What more do you expect from the Descendants of Vijaya and his ‘SinhaLe’?

  • 2
    0

    It looks Transparency International is funded by USAID

    The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spends hundreds of millions of American tax dollars promoting development and good governance in Pakistan, including multi-million dollar grants to Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) to operate an “anti-corruption hotline.” However, the leadership of TIP routinely abuses its authority to intimidate and settle scores, as well as for its own financial and political benefit.

    In direct violation of Transparency International and USAID rules against nepotism, the USAID-sponsored hotline is being run by Fawad Gilani, the son of Adil Gilani, the controversial former chairman of TIP, who is still currently a senior member of the TIP team. According to TIP’s own filings, Fawad has taken USAID-funded trips to locales such as Nepal and South Africa in addition to making the rounds in Washington DC and Germany on the U.S. dime. Meanwhile, he has not been much of a corruption-fighter: numerous complaints against his father’s consulting contracts have never been investigated.

  • 0
    1

    Statement by the Board of Transparency International Sri Lanka

    Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) notes the allegations made against it on the BBC Sinhala Radio Service on Monday 22 August 2016. The allegations that the organization has penalized certain staff members and a former staff member for complaining against the Executive Director are false, made in bad faith and amount to a serious distortion of facts.

    TISL wishes to place on record the fact that all complaints into alleged wrongdoings against any member of staff are taken very seriously and are inquired into without delay. The outcomes of such inquiries are communicated to the complainants concerned. In the case of the specific allegations that have recently received media attention, it is noted that a panel comprising two board members including the Chairman was appointed to inquire into the matter. The complainants did not raise any objections to the process, and in fact expressed a high degree of satisfaction with regard to the process followed. The two-member panel conducted several interviews and evaluated documentary evidence relevant to the matter. It concluded that all allegations were baseless and lacked merit. It did, however, present certain constructive recommendations on improving systems and processes within the organization. The outcome of the inquiry was communicated to the parties concerned. The panel meanwhile raised serious doubts with regard to the good faith of the complainants, as it viewed these allegations as part of a pattern of acts aimed at undermining the integrity and work of TISL.

    TISL is conscious of the fact that a staff member may at times abuse whistleblower policies when his or her employment contract is up for renewal. Such tactics amount to intimidation aimed at coercing the organization into renewing the contract of such staff member.

    In matters of employment, TISL receives independent legal advice to ensure the best decisions are made in the interest of the long-term welfare, integrity and stability of the organization. Meanwhile, TISL will continue to endeavour to maintain the highest ethical standards and to regularly review internal systems and processes to ensure high standards of integrity.

    The Board of Directors

    Transparency International Sri Lanka

    23 August 2016

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.