President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday reiterated that his primary duty was to root out corruption in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the Anti-Corruption summit in London, Sirisena outlined several initiatives taken by him and the government to fight corruption in the country.
“Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka too went through such a phase during the previous regime, but the regime was overthrown democratically through an election,” he said.
Detailing the initiatives taken by him, Sirisena told the Summit that with the introduction of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, he has handed over all executive powers of the Presidency to the Parliament, except for those the Supreme Court deemed were non-transferable.
“it is my firm determination to root out corruption, and for this I have also established the anti-corruption secretariat, and appointed a commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption,” he said.
Sirisena also added that the Financial Crimes Investigations Division was established to expedite all investigations, and the division was given the necessary powers to carry out its probes without any hindrance.
Photo by Sudath Silva
The Full text of the speech by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London on May 12
I thank Hon. Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister for inviting me to attend this Anti-Corruption Summit in London. I consider this summit a significant step to combine our collective efforts to fight corruption that is wide spread all over the world.
Corruption is one of the factors that promote political violence and other forms of human rights abuses. Sri Lanka went through such a stage during the previous administration. The people reacted strongly against corruption by changing the corrupt administration by the power of the ballet in January 2015 at the Presidential election and again at the Parliamentary election in the August 2016.
The people acting democratically got rid of the corrupt leaders and their supporters. The current national unity government consists of the two major political parties in the parliament under my leadership and the other led by Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickermesinghe. We were elected to office on the policy platform of democracy, good governance and rule of law. Therefore, we consider our prime duty to root out of corruption from the country. We have already taken significant measures for this purpose. I am happy to inform this forum that with the introduction of the 19th amendment to the constitution I handed over most of the executive powers to the Parliament except those powers Supreme Court decided cannot be transferred. However, even under this limited situation as a demonstration of my commitment to transparency, accountability and the rule of law and my firm determination to route out corruption I established an anti-corruption secretariat, a special presidential commission to investigate. I also appointed a commission to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption. The Right to Information Act has been presented to the Parliament and the National Audit Act will be presented to the Parliament shortly. All these institutions are working satisfactorily. A special division within the police titled Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) was established to expedite investigations on major financial crimes. They have been given all necessary facilities to carry out their duties. They have already commenced flings of several major financial charges. We note with appreciation the support and cooperation already extended to Sri Lanka by several countries including UK, USA, India and Switzerland as well as the World Bank to strengthen the investigative agencies regarding the stolen assets. We are in the process of seeking information and assistance to trace them . We are happy that summit proposes to establish an International Anti- Corruption Centre, all of us as leaders need to act collectively to strengthen our own law enforcement agencies to track the corrupt and recover the proceeds of corruption.
Sri Lanka is fully committed to such firm action.