The Sri Lankan Chapter of the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International (TI) is accused of suppressing the inquiry report of its own corruption and malpractices.
In August, Colombo Telegraph, reported serious allegations of corruption and malpractices at TISL. We reported that one of the whistleblower, Ananda Jayasekara, who had worked for TISL for ten years continuously although under several contracts renewed periodically, was victimised after whistleblowing.
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.
The TISL had tasked its Chairperson, Lakshan Dias, and former Chairperson and present member of TISL board J.C. Weliamuna to investigate the allegations against its Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere. Whistleblowers had then pointed out that the independence of the investigation is compromised by the fact that Dias himself is a witness to the said allegations.
A few days after the Colombo Telegraph Exposé, on 5th September, speaking to several media organisations, TISL Chairman, Lakshan Dias had denied any wrongdoing and assured that the inquiry report would be made available to the complainants within three days.
Speaking to Colombo Telegraph one whistleblower has said yesterday that they had not received the inquiry report. “We are being ignored, bullied and victimised”, he said.
“This is a clear violation of TISL’s own Whistleblower Protection Policy, Ananda’s contract wasn’t renewed, Shan and Jagath left the organisation” a staff member of the Transparency International Sri Lanka told Colombo Telegraph on the condition of anonymity. “It’s a ‘climate of fear'” another staff member said. “A significant proportion of our staff are afraid to blow the whistle now,” she said.
The TISL 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.”