In a tweet, Transparency International said that they are taking the issues ‘seriously’ and are looking into this. They made this statement in response to a question posted by Rohan Jayasekera, an English journalist and former associate editor of the London magazine Index on Censorship who requested TI for a statement, on how the organization was addressing the current problems at its Sri Lanka chapter.
In the recent past, the Sri Lankan Chapter of Transparency International has been engulfed in various conflicts in terms of lack of transparency, which goes against the organisation’s ideology and also the core it is built on.
The Colombo Telegraph has disclosed various issues from conflict of interest to even penalization of whistleblowers in the recent past at TISL.
In 2015 it was revealed that J. C. Weliamuna, the former Chairman and Executive Director of Transparency International was paid by the government to carry out an inquiry on the corruption at the SriLankan airlines, which occurred during the term of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It was reported that a team, including Weliamuna and two others were paid Rs. 3.5 million including all costs for a six week long investigation. Even though the Colombo Telegraph requested for a breakdown of the payment, Weliamuna refused to provide it.
In another case, in December last year, TISL awarded the ‘Integrity Award’ to the chairman of the ‘Ravaya’ newspaper, Victor Ivan. The fact that Ivan was accused of swindling contributors to the Ravaya fund regarding which there is a complaint being looked into by the Registrar of Companies and the Fraud Bureau shows the mockery of TISL’s decision. Despite repeated queries on what basis the TISL chose Ivan, the local chapter refused to respond to questions posted by the Colombo Telegraph.
In another issue, TISL has penalized several whistleblowers and even going to the extent of not renewing the contract of one such whistleblower, Ananda Jayasekara.
Jayasekara, Shan Wijetunge and Jagth Liyana Arachchi submitted a petition recently to TISL Chairperson alleging corruption (abuse of power, nepotism, favoritism and improper recruitment) by high ranking officials at the local chapter. They had also requested for an independent investigation. The whistleblowers alleged that TISL is not transparent and violates principles of good governance. Jayasekara, had worked for TISL for ten years continuously although under several contracts renewed periodically.
S. Ranugge, former Executive Director of the TISL had 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.